August 25, 2011

Females Prefer Similar Personalities In Males


According to recent research on zebra finches, adventurous females choose mates with similar personalities, regardless of the male´s appearance and other assets. This is the first study to show that the non-sexual behavior or personalities of both mates influences partner choice in non-humans.

Researchers put 150 male and female zebra finches through a series of tests, in order to get a sense of their personality, to reveal how keen they were to explore new environments and how they reacted to new objects, The Telegraph is reporting.

Each female bird was then allowed to watch a pair of brothers exploring a new cage, unaware that one was being held back by a clear-sided box. When the birds were put together, the more adventurous females were more likely to pursue the male that seemed more outgoing.

The results showed that more exploratory females are more likely to favor the most apparently outgoing and confident males. This was regardless of the bird´s body size and condition or beak color. Less exploratory females on the other hand, did not show a preference for either male.

Dr. Sasha Dall, team leader of the study at the University of Exeter said, “This is strong evidence that females care about the apparent personality of their male independently of his appearance. We have the first evidence that it is important for partners to have compatible personalities in the mating game. This is something we would probably all agree is the case for humans but which has been overlooked for other species.”

Previous studies have shown that there is a link between a pair´s personalities and their reproductive success in a range of species. Lead author, Dr. Wiebke Schuett of the Royal Veterinary College said, “Exploratory females seem to have the most to gain by choosing exploratory mates.”

“We have shown previously that pairs of zebra finches that are both exploratory raise offspring in better condition than those that are mismatched or unexploratory. Similar patterns have been seen in other birds and fish. However, this is the first evidence that the personality of both partners plays a role in mate choice.”

The research is published in the journal Ethology.


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