Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 18:2 (December 1985), pp. 117–123

doi: 10.1007/BF00299040


Copyright © 1985 Springer-Verlag. Used by permission.


Mate choice cues in sage grouse were reinvestigated by analyzing relationships between male mating success and a range of suggested cues. Display cues were implicated by significant relationships between mating status (whether or not a male mated) and lek attendance, display rate (corrected for effects of female proximity and time of day) and an acoustic component related to temporal and frequency measures of a whistle emitted during the strut display. Although display rate and the acoustic component were intercorrelated, both exerted significant partial effects on mating success in multivariate analyses. These display measures also differed significantly between males. In contrast, mating success was not significantly related to measures of territory characteristics, including size and proximity to the lek center, or to body size. These results resolve discrepancies between previous studies and provide a basis for experimental analysis of the role of female choice in this lek system.