JAPANESE QUAIL (Coturnix japonica)

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situations, behavior systems and species (Domjan & Kurth, 1986; Whitlow, 1975). In the sexual behavior system, habituation and dishabituation have been ...
SEXUAL BEHAVIOR HABITUATION IN MALE JAPANESE QUAIL (Coturnix japonica)

L a b o r ato r i o d e Ap re n d i z a j e y Co m p o r t a mie n to Animal

UNIV ER SIDAD NACIONAL DE CO LO M BIA

Juan Riveros - Miguel Puentes - John Solórzano Germán Gutiérrez - Carolina Támara Habituation is defined as a response level reduction caused by the repeated presentation of a stimulus. A related phenomenon is dishabituation, a response recovery resulting from exposure to a novel stimulus. These phenomena have been documented in different experimental situations, behavior systems and species (Domjan & Kurth, 1986; Whitlow, 1975). In the sexual behavior system, habituation and dishabituation have been related to the female novelty effect, also called “The Coolidge Effect” (Dewsbury, 1981). This phenomenon, however, has been studied in only a few species, mostly rodents (Cohn, Tokumaru & Ades, 2004). In Japanese quail this effect has not been well characterized. The studies on the subject show contradictory results. Schein and Carter (1972) found no recovery of the response after a change in the sexual stimulus; Domjan and Kurth (1986) reported mixed results in two experiments; the first one showed a non significant increase in sexual response levels, but the second experiment showed that in the presence of a familiar and a novel female, males increased their sexual responses to the last one. In a semi-natural study carried out in our own lab, we observed a decrease in males’ sexual behavior, as they spent more time with a given female, and an increase in the males’ sexual response when a novel female was introduced (Riveros, 2004). The purpose of the present research was two-fold:

• to develop a methodological strategy to study habituation in the sexual behavior system of male quail, and • to evaluate the nature of habituation and related phenomena in this avian species .

Method SUBJECTS • Eleven sexually experienced male Japanese quail were housed individually, and given free access to food and water. • Six receptive females were used as stimuli.

Results

INSTRUMENT A wooden box, divided in two areas (zone 0 and zone 1), was used as the experimental arena. The male was allowed to explore all this area without restriction. A lateral box, attached to one side, was separated from the main box by a solid door and a wire mesh. The door could be opened, leaving the wire mesh in place, allowing the male, located in the main box, to have visual but not copulatory access to the female, located in the lateral box.

A repeated measures ANOVA showed an effect of trials F (6) = 20.290 (p