IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Sexual signals, risk of predation and escape behavior

Listed author(s):
  • Anders Pape Møller
  • Simon S. Christiansen
  • Timothy A. Mousseau
Registered author(s):

    Adults of many species display extravagant sexual signals during the reproductive season, apparently evolved as a means of attracting mates or repelling potential competitors, thereby inadvertently also attracting the attention of predators. Many studies have shown predation costs of sexual display. Therefore, we should expect species with the most exaggerated signals to have evolved antipredator behavior that reduces or eliminates predation costs of sexual signaling but also to have evolved behavior that allows for escape from a predator once captured. We quantified 6 aspects of escape behavior in 2105 free-living birds belonging to 80 species when handled after capture for banding. Escape behavior was species specific as demonstrated by significant consistency in behavior among individuals. Escape behavior was significantly related to susceptibility to predation by cats Felis catus and goshawks Accipiter gentilis, showing that escape behavior is under current selection. Escape behavior was related to the ease of feather loss estimated in a previous study but also to the frequency of tailless individuals recorded in the field. Thus, escape behavior reported here was cross-validated against other aspects of antipredator behavior shown to reflect risk of predation. Aspects of escape behavior differed significantly between males and females (biting, fear screams, and feather loss). Sexually dichromatic species differed in escape behavior from monochromatic species by having a reduced frequency of fear screams and increased tonic immobility. These findings suggest that exposure to risk of predation has modified escape behavior in relation to sexual coloration. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 800-807

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:4:p:800-807
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

    Fax: 01865 267 985
    Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:4:p:800-807. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.