Artificial enhancement of an extended phenotype signal increases investment in courtship by three-spined sticklebacks

Morrell, Lesley J.; Hentley, William T.; Wickens, Victoria J.; Wickens, Jennifer B.; Rodgers, Gwendolen M.. 2012 Artificial enhancement of an extended phenotype signal increases investment in courtship by three-spined sticklebacks. Animal Behaviour, 84 (1). 93-101.

Full text not available from this repository.


Interactions between the components of a multiple-signal sexual display can be complex, and previous work has shown that alteration of one component can lead to changed investment in either the altered or other display components. Extended phenotype signals (nonbody structures that carry a signalling function) provide an ideal means to manipulate signal quality in a noninvasive manner, to investigate investment patterns in display components. We made three predictions as to how males might alter investment in display components in response to artificial enhancement of an extended phenotype signal, and tested those predictions using three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus. The addition of brightly coloured ornaments (threads) to the nests of male sticklebacks led to increased investment in both courtship of females and nest construction. In a field experiment, males offered coloured threads spent increased time engaged in interactions with females, and in the laboratory, they built nests that were neater and more compact (better quality), relative to males offered dull threads. Our findings support a hypothesis based on resource budgeting, and suggest that resources saved by having an artificially enhanced nest are reallocated to other courtship behaviours. The study provides a framework for investigating the interaction between signal components, and demonstrates that manipulation of extended phenotype signals can provide insight into the ways in which animals balance investment in interacting signal components in sexual displays.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 1 - Observations, Patterns, and Predictions for Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hails
ISSN: 0003-3472
Additional Keywords: extended phenotype, Gasterosteus aculeatus, mate choice, nest building, ornamentation, sexual selection, three-spined stickleback
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 04 Sep 2012 09:54 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...