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Adaptive functions of fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys and related birds

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Adaptive functions of fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys and related birds
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Buchholz, Richard, 1964-
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English
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ix, 94 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

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Birds ( jstor )
Body temperature ( jstor )
Female animals ( jstor )
Head ( jstor )
Mating behavior ( jstor )
Neck ( jstor )
Parasites ( jstor )
Snoods ( jstor )
Species ( jstor )
Wattles ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Zoology -- UF
Zoology thesis Ph.D
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1994.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 85-93).
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Also available online.
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Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Richard Buchholz.

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ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF FLESHY ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS AND RELATED BIRDS












By

RICHARD BUCHHOLZ













A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1994


























"That's the whole problem with science.
You've got a bunch of empiricists

trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder."

Calvin













ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


My advisor, Jane Brockmann, has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping me with this project I will always be grateful for her enthusiasm, advice, instruction, guidance, constructive criticism and support. Little did I know that an academicumwelt is learned as well as innate, just like everything else.

This study would not have been possible without the help of the rest of my

committee. Ellis Greiner kindly taught me parasitology and allowed me to use his lab. He has also been very tolerant of the strange questions we ask over on this side of Archer Rd. Rich Kiltie has thought carefully about the theoretical underpinnings and techniques I have used to study fleshy structures. He directed me at several crucial turning points and made me realize the consequences of my assumptions (although I suspect he does not find turkeys very aesthetically pleasing). Doug Levey has always encouraged and helped me by considering even my wackiest ideas with tact. He is also my secret source for everything "birdy." Brian McNab taught me about physiological ecology and generously allowed me to use his lab. Dave McDonald has served as a "ghost" committee member and a friend during my entire graduate career.
Literally dozens of people helped catch, handle and process wild turkeys. I am

grateful for their help. This study would not have been possible without it. In particular I would like to thank those who helped me several times, including Laurie Eberhardt, Ron Clouse, Paula Cushing, and Monica Marquez. Farol Tomson and Frank Nordlie found a place to keep the turkeys, the Department of Zoology paid the costs of maintaining them, and Chris Wilcox and her crew helped care for the turkeys when I was out of town. The Florida Museum of Natural History, University Athletic Association and Frank Maturo


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generously allowed me to use their facilities to house the turkeys. My dad, Eduard Buchholz helped improve the turkey cages. Margaret Byrne and Gerry Ryan helped build new cages.
My studies of free-living wild turkeys were done under permit from the Florida Department of Natural Resources and Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. Permits were facilitated by Dan Pearson and David Cobb. I thank them and the staffs at Paynes Prairie State Preserve and Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, particularly Jim Weimer and Jack Gillen. The National Wild Turkey Federation provided wild turkey transport boxes free of charge.

Several pilot studies did not pan out in the long run. Nevertheless I would like to thank those who assisted me in these preliminary efforts. John Eisenberg kindly provided permission to conduct preliminary research at the Katharine Ordway Preserve. Peter and Denise Buchholz figured out how to catch jungle fowl on Kauai. Steve Nesbitt taught me all about sandhill cranes, shared his data and let me tag along on crane capturing trips. Marilyn Spaulding, Don Forrester and Sam Telford helped with my earliest attempts at parasitology. I hope they will continue to encourage students as they did me.

At times graduate school is a very frustrating and unrewarding place. I must thank the family and friends who have supported, laughed and commiserated with me over the years and made it better. All have been instrumental in keeping me (somewhat) sane and (usually) happy. Nothing would have been possible without the love and generosity of my parents, Eduard and Elisabeth Buchholz. I hope someday they understand why I had to do this. Gratitude goes to their son Peter, who reaffirmed our brotherhood despite having chosen a different path. Thanks go to Marianne von Osten and Susan Edelbach, my "aunt" and "sister," for always welcoming me home. Special thanks go to fellow cohort member, peer advisor and buddy Laurie Eberhardt. I will miss her (boo!) and Peter. Carlita Restrepo is a kindred spirit. I thank the expatriates, Tes Toop and John Donald, for being funny, stabilizing and never dull. They tell me that in Australia Occam's razor is used to cut


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Gordian knots. Monica Marquez made sure I finished my NSF grant application and has always been an encouraging friend. Margaret Byrne and Gerry Ryan have been kind to me in many ways. I value my friendship with each of them and hope they figure out what they are looking for. Ren6e Calarco and Barbara Crute helped me get here, helped keep me here, and were always there. Maggie and Ted would not be happy about being mentioned in the same sentence, but I cherished them both. John, Tom, Bubba and Jane taught me alot about turkeys; may they rest in peace.

Last, but not least, I thank the office staffs: Carol "Sweet Cheeks" Binello, Alice "Glamour Girl" McClaughry, Janet "Green Thumb" Zeigler, Lynda Everitt, Lori "Where Are You Going?" Clark, Ruth Ann Czerenda, Evelyn Rockwell, Kenetha "I've Got my Eye on You" Johnson, Tangelyn "You're Crazy" Mitchell and, of course, Gracie "Babes" Kiltie. Also thanks to Pete in the stockroom. They kept life in Bartram and Carr interesting and smoothed over the red tape. Keep up the great job!

My research was funded by the Department of Zoology at the University of Florida, a Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fund Grant in Ornithology from the American Museum of Natural History, a grant-in-aid of research from Sigma Xi, the Animal Behavior Fund of the University of Florida Foundation, the Cracid Breeding and Conservation Center, and a Threadgill Dissertation Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida.
















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TABLE OF CONTENTS



A CK N OW LED G EM ENT S ........................................................................................... iii

ABSTRA CT ................................................................................................................. viii

CHAPTERS

1 G EN ERAL IN TRO DU CTION ..................................................................... 1

2 A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ADAPTIVE
SIGNIFICANCE OF FLESHY STRUCTURES IN THE
G ALLIFORM ES ....................................................................................... 5

H ypotheses and Predictions ......................................................................... 7
Inter-individual A ssessm ent................................................................. 7
Im m ediate benefits ........................................................................ 9
G ood genes m odels .......................................................................... 10
Fisher's runaw ay selection ............................................................... 13
Therm oregulation................................................................................... 13
Fleshy structures as heat sinks ........................................................ 14
Solar collector ................................................................................. 14
M ethods........................................................................................................ 15
Results.......................................................................................................... 18
Inter-individual A ssessm ent................................................................... 18
Im m ediate benefits........................................................................... 18
G ood genes m odels .......................................................................... 18
Therm oregulation................................................................................... 22
Fleshy structures as heat sinks ........................................................ 22
Solar collector .................................................................................. 22
D iscussion .................................................................................................... 22

3 ADAPTIVE FEMALE CHOICE FOR MALE FLESHY
ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS ................................................25

Introduction.................................................................................................. 25
M ethods ........................................................................................................ 30
Study Species ......................................................................................... 30
M ate Choice Experim ents ...................................................................... 31
Live m ale experim ent....................................................................... 32
M ale m odel experim ent ................................................................... 37
Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males .......................................... 39
Results .......................................................................................................... 40
Live M ales Experim ent .......................................................................... 40
M ale M odels Experim ent ....................................................................... 42

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Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males .......................................... 43
D iscussion .................................................................................................... 46

4 MALE DOMINANCE AND VARIATION IN FLESHY HEAD
ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS .............................................. 51

Introduction.................................................................................................. 51
M ethods........................................................................................................ 53
Live M ales.............................................................................................. 54
M ale M odel Trials.................................................................................. 56
Results.......................................................................................................... 57
Live M ale Trials..................................................................................... 57
M ale M odel Trials.................................................................................. 62
D iscussion .................................................................................................... 62

5 THE THERMOREGULATORY ROLE OF THE UNFEATHERED
HEAD AND NECK IN MALE WILD TURKEYS..................................... 66

Introduction .................................................................................................. 66
M ethods........................................................................................................ 67
Subjects and A pparatuses....................................................................... 67
Experim ental D esign .............................................................................. 69
Results.......................................................................................................... 71
D iscussion .................................................................................................... 79

G ENERAL D ISCU SSION ............................................................................................ 82

LIST O F REFEREN CES ............................................................................................... 85

BIOG RAPH ICAL SK ETCH ......................................................................................... 94























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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF FLESHY ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS AND RELATED BIRDS By

Richard Buchholz
August, 1994



Chairman: H. Jane Brockmann
Major Department: Zoology

Wattles and other types of unfeathered fleshy ornamentation in birds are puzzling to evolutionary biologists because these structures increase the bird's susceptibility to bloodfeeding insects and heat loss, without providing any obvious benefits. This study tests sexual and nonsexual hypotheses for the evolution and maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in galliform birds, particularly the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
A comparative study of the elaboration of fleshy structures in the avian order

Galliformes identified the evolutionary pressures under which fleshy structures may have evolved. After controlling for the effects of body size and shared phylogeny, the lack of clear cut associations between fleshy ornamentation and other types of ornaments suggests that sexual selection has not played an important role in the evolution of these structures. Strong negative correlations with latitude, on the other hand, are supportive of a thermoregulatory role for these characters.

Sexual selection for the maintenance of fleshy ornamentation was tested in mate choice and dominance trials using wild turkeys raised in captivity. If the wild turkey's viii








fleshy structures are maintained by female choice, females are expected to mate nonrandomly with respect to these characters. Females chose males with greater snood lengths and skullcap widths. Males with longer snoods were more likely to be dominant in dyadic encounters. In complementary field studies in north central Florida, male snood length was found to be a "good genes" indicator of coccidia infection and body condition. Thus the turkey's snood appears to be maintained by female choice for males who signal their genetic quality.
The extensive vascularization of fleshy ornamentation suggests that it may function in thermoregulation. By insulating the unfeathered bare heads and necks of wild turkeys, I tested whether the fleshy ornamentation of this species is important in heat dissipation. Insulated turkeys increased their oxygen consumption and experienced higher body temperatures relative to uninsulated controls. These results concur with those of the comparative study and suggest avian fleshy structures function in heat dissipation as well as sexual selection. Nonsexual hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in animals are rarely proposed, but are necessary to understand the evolution of these costly characters.























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CHAPTER 1
GENERAL INTRODUCTION


Brightly colored plumage, large branching antlers and delicately curved horns,

elaborate tails and courtship behaviors in animals seem inconsistent with our general notion of the parsimony of nature. These characters are often called "extravangant" or "ornamental" because they are particularly striking in appearance to human observers and detailed studies of their function have not been conducted. They are ornamental in the sense that they make the bearer physically more obvious without having any direct, functional purpose, such as in catching food items or digging burrows. These extravagant characters may increase the predation risks of animals that have them and likely have costs in terms of the energy needed to grow and maintain them. Despite the potentially high costs of having extravagant ornamentation, little is known of the benefits. However the dramatic physical appearance of these structures, coupled with their development at reproductive maturity or seasonally with breeding has led most authors to suggest that they have evolved via sexual selection, that is that they have some function in increasing mating success. Thus the high costs associated with ornamentation are assumed to be counterbalanced by increased reproductive success. Assumptions about the adaptive benefit of "ornamental" structures under sexual selection often make intuitive sense. Unfortunately additional hypotheses that might explain how these traits evolved over time or how they are currently maintained are rarely considered. The goal of my doctoral research is to propose and test both sexual and nonsexual hypotheses for the evolution and maintenance of a subset of avian ornamentation commonly called fleshy structures (FS).





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Combs, ceres, wattles and similar fleshy structures are widespread in the class Aves, but are particularly common in the order Galliformes (quails, pheasants, grouse, curassows, guans, megapodes). Despite the frequency of these fleshy characters, there has never been a thorough examination of their adaptive significance. First, I conduct a comparative analysis of the morphological and ecological correlates of FS in the Galliformes to test four alternative hypotheses for the evolution of these anomalous structures (Chapter 2). These hypotheses fall into two functional groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: (1) inter-individual assessment and (2) thermoregulation. After examining the interspecific correlates of fleshy ornamentation in this avian order, I evaluate these hypotheses in a local galliform, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), in subsequent chapters.

Male wild turkeys are perhaps the most ornamented birds in North America. They have iridescent feathers, a hair-like beard projecting from their chest and most notably an unfeathered, bright red, white and blue head and neck. On the head and neck are three types of extravagant fleshy projections. Perhaps the most remarkable is the distensible frontal process or snood hanging over the bird's bill. At the base of the neck are large fleshy protuberances called frontal caruncles and on the side of the neck are small polyp-like fleshy structures called side caruncles. During display these fleshy structures change markedly; the snood distends and the caruncles are flushed with blood and become bright red. The association of this change with courtship suggests that these fleshy structures affect mating success.

Sexual selection is divided into two subsets: female choice and male-male competition for access to females. If female choice is an important selective factor maintaining male fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys, variability in male ornamentation should affect male mating success (Chapter 3). Similarly if male-male competition is a significant selective pressure, variability in fleshy ornamentation should affect the outcome of male-male interactions (Chapter 4). Two general models of female choice for male fleshy structures are tested: "good genes" and "arbitrary preferences." Both types predict





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that females will exert directional selection for the more exaggerated form of male ornamentation. Good genes models propose that the character in question is assessed by females because it is an indicator of the heritable vigor of the bearer, but the arbitrary preference model predicts no such association between ornament and male viability. To investigate how wild turkey ornamentation may have evolved by female choice, the assumptions and predictions of these models must be tested. First, do females mate randomly with respect to male traits, and if not, which traits do they assess in prospective mates? Second, are the characters assessed by females particularly good indicators of the male's success in dealing with factors limiting the fitness of wild turkeys? One factor limiting fitness of males is their ability to displace other males away from females during the reproductive season.

Wild turkeys are a highly polygynous species in which males attempt to restrict the access of other males to groups of females during the mating season. Thus agonistic interactions and social dominance may be important determinants of reproductive success. Females may prefer to mate with dominant males if components of dominance are heritable and will be passed on to their offspring. Subordinate males should avoid dangerous battles with dominant males if they have little chance of winning. Fleshy ornamentation may play a role in mutual assessment before male battles, because these structures appear to be good indicators of condition and testosterone levels in related galliform species. To see if this is the case in wild turkeys, the value of fleshy ornamentation in indicating the outcome of male-male combat is assessed. Then I ask whether males actually judge the ornamentation of other males before interacting with them.
Female choice and male-male competition are not the only hypotheses that might explain the maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys. Fleshy ornamentation is highly vascularized and may be used in thermal balance, particularly at high temperatures. The value of unfeathered ornamentation in dissipating heat at high temperatures and the cost





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of an uninsulated head and neck at low temperatures is assessed by experimentally reinsulating the heads and necks of wild turkeys as though they were feathered (Chapter 5).

Ornamental structures and elaborate courtship behavior patterns in animals have long puzzled evolutionary biologists. Recent work on these characters, which are often quite bizarre in appearance, suggests that these evolutionary puzzles are not always attributable to sexual selection. Natural selection can mold the specific characteristics of sexually selected characters to minimize their costs, and it can select for structures that share characteristics with sexually selected traits, but that have very practical functions outside of mate choice and male-male competition. The goal of this study is to understand the evolution and maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in galliform birds.














CHAPTER 2
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ADAPTIVE SIGNIFICANCE OF "FLESHY"
STRUCTURES IN THE GALLIFORMES


Introduction

Combs, ceres, wattles, knobs, snoods and other fleshy structures are a virtually
unstudied evolutionary puzzle in avian biology. These areas of bare skin, often called "fleshy" structures, are present in some members of at least 30% of bird families. In some small families, fleshy structures are found in every species (e.g., Casuariidae, Fregatidae, Callaeidae); in other larger families, fleshy structures are nearly fixed (e.g., Gruidae and Cracidae) or widespread (e.g., Phasianidae and Meliphagidae). Fleshy structures appear to be completely absent in only 11 of the 27 avian orders (Table 2-1). Oddly, despite the frequency of these fleshy characters and their importance to avian taxonomy, there has never been a thorough examination of their adaptive significance.

FS are generally assumed to be sexual ornamentation (e.g., Welty 1975) and recent empirical studies provide strong support for both intersexual and intrasexual explanations for the maintenance of these structures (Brodsky 1988; Boyce 1990; Hillgarth 1990; Ligon et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; 1992; Holder & Montgomerie 1993). Unfortunately none of these investigations has addressed nonsexual functions for these structures. In addition no studies have addressed the costs inherent to having exposed skin. FS are a chink in the protective armor (feathers and scales) covering a bird's body surface. Exposing bare skin to a world of temperature extremes, aggressive competitors and disease-carrying insects would seem to be maladaptive. Have birds evolved these seemingly costly characters solely in the context of increased mating success?




5






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Table 2-1. Fleshy structures are found in 47 families in 11 orders in the Class Aves.

* Struthioniformes Gruiformes A Apodiformes Laniidae Struthionidae* Mesitornithidae Apodidae Vangidae A Rheiformes Tumrnicidae Hemiprocnidae Bombycillidae Rheidae Pedionomidae Trochilidae Dulidae
* Casuariiformes Gruidae* Coliiformes Cinclidae Casuadiidae* Aramidae Coliidae* Troglodytidae Dromaiidae* Psophiidae A Trogoniformes Mimidae A Apterygiformes Rallidae Trogonidae Prunellidae Apterygidae Heliornithidae Coraciiformes Muscicapidae* A Tinamiformes Rhynocetidae Alcedinidae Aegathalidae Tinamidae Eurypygidae Todidae Remizidae A Sphenisciformes Cariamidae* Momotidae Paridae Spheniscidae Otididae* Meropidae Sittidae A Gaviiformes Charadriiformes Coraciidae Certiidae Gaviidae Jacanidae* Brachypteraciidae Rhabdomithae A Podicipediformes Rostratulidae Leptosomatidae Climacteridae Podicipedidae Droamadidae Upupidae Dicaeidae A Procellariformes Haematopodidae Phoeniculidae Nectariniidae Diomedidae Ibidorhychidae Bucerotidae* Zosteropidae* Procellaridae Recurvirorostidae Piciformes Melaphagidae* Hydrobatidae Burhinidae Galbulidae Emberizidae Pelecanoididae Glareolidae Bucconidae Pamrulidae
* Pelecaniformes Charadridae Capitonidae* Drepanididae Phaethontidae Scolopacidae* Indicatoridae Vireonidae Pelecanidae* Thinocoridae Ramphastidae* Icteridae* Sulidae Chionididae* Picidae* Fringillidae Phalacrocoracidae* Stercorariidae Passeriformes Estrildidae Anhingidae Laridae Eurylaimidae Ploceidae Fregatidae* Rynchopidae Dendrocolaptidae Sturnidae*
* Ciconiiformes Alcidae* Furnariidae Oriolidae* Ardeidae Columbiformes Fomicariidae* Dicruridae Balaenicipitidae Pteroclididae Conopophagidae Callaeidae Scopidae Columbidae* Rhinocryptidae Grallinidae Ciconiidae* Psittaciformes Cotingidae* Aratamidae Threskiornithidae* Psittacidae* Pipridae Cracticidae Phoenicopteridae* Loriidae* Tyrannidae Ptilonorhynchidae
* Anseriformes Cacatuidae* Oxyruncidae Paradisaeidae Anhimidae Cuculiformes Phytotomidae* Corvidae Anatidae* Musophagidae* Pittidae
* Falconiformes Cuculidae* Xenicidae Cathartidae* A Strigiformes Philepittidae* Pandionidae Tytonidae Menuridae Accipitridae* Strigidae Atrichornithidae Sagittaridae* A Caprimulgiformes Alaudidae Falconidae Steatornithidae Hirundinidae
* Galliformes Podargidae Motacillidae Megapodiidae* Nyctibiidae Campephagidae Cracidae* Aegothelidae Pycnonotidae Phasianidae* Caprimulgidae Irenidae Opisthocomidae*
Classification follows Morony et al. (1975). Field guides were examined to identify taxa with FS. All species were not examined, thus additional taxa may possess FS. Families without annotation lack fleshy structures; order contains at least one species with a fleshy structure; A no fleshy structures present in representative species surveyed in each family of order; family contains at least one species that possesses a fleshy structure.





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Although it is ordinarily not possible to know the selective pressures under which any trait evolved in the past, comparative analyses of the environmental, morphological and ecological correlates of traits across species provide clues to the selective factors associated with their evolution (Clutton-Brock & Harvey 1984). I conducted such an analysis to test four alternative hypotheses for the evolution of FS in the Galliformes (quails, pheasants, grouse, curassows, guans, megapodes). Galliformes are well suited for such a study because their behavior, ecology and distributions are fairly well documented. They exhibit a diversity of FS that are familiar to anyone who has seen a domestic chicken or turkey.

FS are not fleshy, that is, they contain very little muscle tissue. As used in common parlance, however, "fleshy" accurately describes the soft or pliable nature of FS. Fleshy structures (FS) vary greatly among taxa in size, shape, color and location and in their use during display (Figure 2-1). Depending on the species, intraspecific variation in the color, shape or presence of FS can be associated with sexual maturity (Hollett et al. 1984), seasonal changes (Stokkan 1979), age (Buchholz 1991) and changes in motivation (Johnsgard 1983; Franklin & Menkhorst 1988; Reichholf 1988). Consistent with the extensive variation in the external morphology of FS is a wide range of hypotheses in the literature on the adaptive functions of exposed skin in birds. These hypotheses generally fall into two major, functional groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: (1) interindividual assessment and (2) thermoregulation. In the next section, I describe these hypotheses and develop predictions for testing and distinguishing among them.


Hypotheses and Predictions

Inter-individual Assessment

The apparent association of FS with sexual maturity suggests that they are an important form of sexual ornamentation. Several hypotheses suggest that sexual ornamentation functions in inter-individual assessment (i.e. an individual evaluates the ornaments of





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a b







cd
C







f



e








h
9
Figure 2-1. Diversity of fleshy structure size, shape and change during display in the Galliformes. Unfeathered areas (FS) bordered by stippling. a) and b) bare orbit and eye wattle of male Syrmaticus pheasant before and during display, respectively; c) bare orbit and dewlap of Eipil guan; d) bare head, neck and collar wattle of brush turkey, Alectura e) bare orbit of male wood partridge, Rollulus; f) knob, cere and wattles of a male curassow, Crn; g) eye combs of male black grouse, Tetrao during display; h) and i) cere and cere, horns and throat lappet in male Tragopan before and during display, respectively.





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another individual and this information determines whether or how they interact). Traditionally, sexual selection theory has been divided into two subdisciplines: female choice and male-male competition. FS, then, may be used for assessment both by females and by other males. Females may assess a male's parental ability, his ability to provide access to resources, his genetically based viability, or other features (Johnson & Mazluff 1990). Similarly, males may use the same or different characters to assess other males prior to aggressive interactions (Borgia 1979; McKinney et al. 1990), or rarely, females. A true test of these hypotheses requires standardized studies of the mate choice and competitive behavior of each species. Instead I have assumed that if FS are subject to assessment, they will co-occur with other characters that have been shown to be subject to assessment in other species. All inter-individual assessment hypotheses assume that females prefer males with the most exaggerated FS and that males will not fight as readily with such males.
Immediate benefits
A male's epigamic traits may reveal direct benefits to the female such as his ability to provide parental care, to feed the female during courtship, or his dominance over good foraging areas. Female choice on these characters is favored because she and her offspring benefit directly, rather than receiving indirect benefits from increased survivorship under the good genes models discussed below (Kirkpatrick 1987). If FS have evolved to signal a male's ability to provide immediate benefits, then the following predictions can be made.

(i) Fleshy structures will be most common and largest in breeding systems where males most commonly provide immediate benefits to the female and her young (i.e. in monogamy).
(ii) Because males and females have similar variance in mating success in monogamous systems (Payne 1984), making mutual assessment more likely, the sexes can be expected to be more similar in FS size than in non-monogamous species.





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Good genes models

If differences in general viability (e.g., health, dominance) are due to genotypic differences, females may be able to choose these "good" genes for their offspring (Andersson 1986; Heisler et al. 1987). Female choice for good genes may be especially important in systems where the male provides no care or other resources for the female or young. In this case traits that honestly advertise male condition will be chosen by females (Kodric-Brown & Brown 1984). The following hypotheses address specific viability correlates that females may use to assess males (and that other males may avoid in combatants).

Parasite resistance. Hamilton and Zuk (1982) proposed that FS in birds are utilized in the assessment of blood parasite burden in prospective mates. Avian blood parasites may reduce fecundity (Korpimaki et al. 1993) or survivorship (Atkinson & van Riper 1991; Bennett et al. 1993). At some stage in their life cycle, hematozoa lyse the blood or muscle cell they occupy and release merozoites (asexual sister cells that subsequently infect other blood cells or tissues) or gametocytes (which are picked up by insect vectors during blood feeding). Red blood cell lysis or muscle impairment may result in anemia that is detectable in the color or turgidity of highly vascularized FS.

The Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis can be expanded to include other parasites or parasitic mechanisms that may affect the size or color of FS. For example, intestinal coccidia infection is associated with reduced blood carotenoid levels (Ruff et al. 1974) and may affect FS pigmentation. Ligon et al. (1990) and Zuk et al. (1990b) found that infection with the intestinal nematode Ascaridia reduced comb size in male junglefowl and that females preferred males with larger combs (above a threshold size), and big combed males were more successful in male-male contests. Hillgarth (1990) found a negative correlation between coccidia burden and mating success in ringneck pheasants and showed that males that extended their face wattles fully and for long periods had higher mating success (although she does not mention a direct correlation between wattle size and parasite burden).





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Ectoparasites may also affect ornamentation and mating success. Spurrier (1991) applied pigment marks resembling hematomas caused by lice on the cervical air sacs of Sage Grouse and found that females preferred the unblemished males. Unfortunately the only measures of parasite prevalence available for most galliform species is of the blood parasites, therefore I restrict my predictions to this group.
(i) Species with FS should be more susceptible to parasitic infection than non-FS

species (Hamilton & Zuk 1982; Read 1987). The unidirectional nature of this prediction may seem counter intuitive. However, since female choice for resistant males may result in higher mean resistance in the next generation, the co-evolutionary nature of host-parasite interactions insures that over long periods of evolutionary time, the host will continue to be susceptible to the parasite. This is a result of adaptations by the parasite that counter the host's new defenses.
(ii) Fleshy structures should be larger, more sexually dimorphic and show greater change during display in species with higher prevalences of hematozoa.
Plumage brightness. Female preference for brighter or more boldly plumaged males is well documented in the avian literature (Burley et al. 1982; Zuk et al. 1992; Johnson et al. 1993; Hill 1994). Brighter males may have access to more or better quality food, be less susceptible to parasites or be more dominant. Alternatively females may merely prefer more brightly colored males with no naturally selected advantage, sensu Fisher (Fisher 1958). In any case, if females are choosing males based on their ornamentation, an association between plumage brightness and FS presence and size might be expected.

(i) Species with FS should have brighter plumage than those lacking FS. Also FS size should be larger in brighter species.
(ii) Species with FS should be more likely to have other types of ornamentation associated with reproductive displays, such as crests and elaborated tails.





12

(iii) If sexual dimorphism in FS size can be attributed to the same selective pressure as sexual dichromatism, namely female choice, then these types of dimorphism should be positively correlated with one another.
Dominance interactions. If social dominance provides access to resources, females that choose dominant males may give their offspring a genetic advantage (as well as direct benefits in systems with paternal care or territoriality). If male-male competition selects for the advertisement of male quality via FS ornamentation (Borgia 1979), females merely need to select the male with the best FS. How might FS signal male dominance? Fleshy structure growth seems to be mediated by testosterone (references in Ligon et al. 1990). Testosterone has been linked with aggression in many animals and is related to dominance in some birds (Wingfield et al. 1987). Therefore dominant males with high testosterone levels may have the biggest FS. For example, in ptarmigans (Lagopus spp.) male comb size is correlated with dominance (Moss et al. 1979), testosterone injections increase comb size (Stokkan 1979), and males with bigger combs have higher mating success (Brodsky 1988). Similar correlative relationships between FS size, testosterone and dominance status are found in red jungle fowl (Galus gallun; references in Ligon et al. 1990). Presumably, intrasexual selection is a precondition for female choice for male dominance. If FS have evolved for intrasexual signalling the following predictions can be made.
(i) Across species FS should be associated with systems in which male-male competition is most acute (i.e. in polygyny).
(ii) Fleshy structures should be positively associated with characteristics important to

male-male competition, such as sexual size dimorphism (Payne 1984) and the presence and sexual dimorphism of weapons such as tarsal spurs (Ligon et al. 1990).
Other good genes models. The inherent costs of FS in terms of heat loss and insect damage would suggest that these structures may serve as handicaps (Zahavi 1975; Grafen 1990a; 1990b). Handicapping traits make it more difficult for males to survive and by doing so reveal to females the males heritable vigor. Although such traits reduce average





13


male survivorship, all the offspring of males who survive despite the handicap inherit their fathers' good genes and the sons inherit their fathers' attractive ornament as well. Unfortunately the handicap model makes no comparative predictions about FS. Fisher's runaway selection

This process, called arbitrary by some authors (Kodric-Brown 1993), has no

comparative predictions (Heisler et al. 1987; Buchholz 1992) because the selective agent is random female preference, unrelated to naturally selected fitness advantages and could occur under many environmental conditions.

Thermoregulation

The high vascularity and exposed nature of FS suggests that they may have some

function in thermoregulation (Lucas & Stettenheim 1972; Crowe & Crowe 1979; Whittow 1986). Intuitively it seems that FS should increase both the evaporative and non-evaporative (radiation, convection, conduction) components of heat loss. In fact, birds lose a large amount of body heat from unfeathered or lightly feathered surfaces such as the legs (Baudinette et al. 1976) and head (Hill et al. 1980). This heat loss may be detrimental to individuals living in environments much colder than their body temperature (Whittow 1986; Gray & Price 1988). In species living in hot environments, however, heat loss from the head may be essential to general homeostasis. Specific vascular adaptations may facilitate heat loss to protect heat sensitive tissues. For example, a counter current heat exchange system around the eye, the rete mirable opthalmica, is thought to keep the brain cooler than the deep body temperature in some birds (Whittow 1986). Alternatively, vascularization near the exterior of the animal may aid in the collection of solar heat when the surrounding air temperature is low (Henneman 1988). Thus FS could function in thermoregulation in two ways: (a) heat dissipation and (b) heat absorbtion.





14

Fleshy structures as heat sinks

Crowe's (Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979b; Withers et al. 1980) studies of
behavior and FS variation in the helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris) show that wattle size in this species is positively correlated with maximum daily temperature across its broad geographic range. Biotelemetric measurements of the brain temperature of captive subjects show that these birds maximally exposed FS in warm ambient temperatures and reduced total thermal conductance by retracting them in cold temperatures. If FS have evolved for this purpose, these predictions follow.
(i) Fleshy structures should be more likely to occur and FS size should be larger in species living at lower altitudes and latitudes. As species ranges get further from the equator they have less need for dissipating heat

(ii) Similarly sexual dimorphism in FS size should be reduced in species living at lower altitudes and latitudes. As species ranges approach the equator, it becomes equally important for both sexes to lose excess body heat.
(iii) Change in FS size during display should be more pronounced nearer the equator if these structures are used to dissipate the excess body heat generated by energetically active display.

Solar collector
To maintain body temperature during cool conditions, FS may be used to absorb heat from the environment instead of increasing metabolic activity (Burtt 1986). The predictions of this hypothesis are the reverse of those for the Heat Sink hypothesis above.
(i) Fleshy structure occurrence and size should be positively correlated with upper latitudinal and altitudinal limits of species.
(ii) Because it should be equally important for both sexes to collect radiation in colder areas, sexual dimorphism in FS should be negatively correlated with altitude and latitude
(iii) Because intraspecific studies show that FS size changes only during sexual displays and not outside of this context, it is unlikely that size change is important to





15

collecting solar radiation. Therefore there should be no relationship between FS size change and latitude or altitude.

Methods

Despite the extreme variation in shape and usage of FS, they share certain attributes and can be divided into three broad categories: (1) sparsely feathered thin skin without distinctive coloring (e.g., the lores of hawks); (2) thickened bare skin with or without distinctive coloring (e.g., the orbital ring in some parrots); and (3) projections of thickened, brightly colored skin (e.g., a chicken's comb). Lumping these three types of structures under a single heading may be somewhat unnatural, since bird species may have very different reasons for exposing their skin. However, so little is known about the morphology, associations and functions of these variable structures that I think this phenomenon warrants an initial investigation at a broader level. Therefore, to identify patterns in the function of exposed skin, I initially lump these structures.

Using literature accounts I collected information on the presence, size, sexual

dimorphism and size change during display of FS, and on the upper, lower, and mid altitudinal and latitudinal limits, body size and sexual dimorphism, mating system, presence of spurs, blood parasite prevalence, and plumage showiness (or "brightness," sensu Hamilton & Zuk 1982) and sexual dichromatism of 279 species of Galliformes in three families (Cracidae, Megapodiidae, Phasianidae). Fleshy structures and plumage characteristics were determined from plates and photos in monographs (Delacour & Amadon 1973; Johnsgard 1983; 1986; 1988), a variety of field guides, individual accounts and personal observations. The FS size of resting males was ranked on a scale of 0-5 relative to head size. The ranking of FS size relative to head size in all species prevents any bias in the results where the FS in question may have been used to establish the underlying taxonomy. Sexual dimorphism in FS size was ranked on a scale of 0-2. Fleshy structure size change during display was ranked on a scale of 0-5. Plumage brightness was ranked





16

on a scale of 0-5. Sexual size dimorphism was calculated as the average male mass divided by the average female mass. Mating system was ranked on a scale of 1-3 based on the degree of polygyny thought to commonly occur in each species. The average number of spurs on males of each species (Davison 1985) was included in the analysis as a measure of male-male competition. Sexual dimorphism in spur number was measured as the female value subtracted from the male value. Maximum and minimum altitudinal limits were collected from species accounts and latitudinal limits were estimated from range maps. Blood parasite prevalences (proportion of sampled individuals found to be infected) were collected from regional surveys or reviews (Oosthuizen & Markus 1967; 1969; Greiner et al. 1975, Ashford et al. 1976; Bennett & Herman 1976; Wink & Bennett 1976; McClure et al. 1978; White et al. 1978; Peirce 1981).
Recently a number of new cladistic methods that control for the nonindependence of data points due to shared phylogeny have been developed for comparative studies (Harvey & Pagel 1991). Many of these assume a "true" phylogeny of the organisms under study. Unfortunately the phylogeny of the Galliformes does not meet this condition because it is in constant flux (Randi et al. 1991) and has had very few molecular studies at lower branch points. The comparative technique I used controls for the effects of shared phylogeny by averaging measurements within nested taxonomic subsets (i.e. averaging the species within each genus, then genera within tribes) and examining the correlations of these averages at each of these taxonomic levels. Pagel and Harvey (1988) have suggested conducting statistical analyses of these data at the single taxonomic level that subsumes the most variance. In the galliform data set analyzed here, most of the variance in FS characteristics is found at the tribe or family level. The decision rule proposed by Pagel and Harvey has drawbacks when comparative associations are studied within one avian order because sample sizes are considerably reduced at higher taxonomic levels. Statistics cannot be employed with only three values at the family level and low sample sizes at the tribe level carry with them a high risk of type II error; the inability to detect significant relationships





17

between variables when they exist. Therefore, I adopt a more exploratory approach and present the associations found between variables at all three taxonomic levels considered: species, genus and tribe. Correlational relationships found only at all lower taxonomic levels (e.g., across species) may be artifacts of shared phylogeny rather than the products of unique evolutionary events. Correlations at higher levels may not be significant because of small sample size. However those correlations that retain statistical significance across all taxonomic levels probably represent strong adaptive relationships.
The hypotheses presented for the evolution of FS were tested statistically in three ways. First I compared taxa with FS to those lacking these structures. The occurrence of FS was tested in a contingency table constructed from the number of taxa above and below the median of the pertinent independent variable and the presence or absence of FS. Second the factors associated with the elaboration of FS in species that had them were also tested in a contingency table. Fleshy structure size and the independent variables were divided into two groups at the median. Third the strength of association between three FS characteristics (FS size, dimorphism and display change) and the independent variables were tested with non-parametric correlation analysis (Spearman rank correlation). Sample sizes vary with the availability of data for each variable. The data set lacked complete information for most of the megapodes, and therefore these species are poorly represented by the results.
At the species level, FS size was strongly correlated with body mass. To remove

correlations between variables caused by their shared correlation with mass, residual values generated by regressing each variable with body mass were used in all the analyses. This approach assumes that the effect of natural or sexual selection on FS characteristics is direct and not mediated by body size. It was not possible to test predictions relating to sexual size dimorphism because this variable is calculated from a ratio with male mass as the denominator. In the contingeny analyses of the occurrence of FS this resulted in about half of the FS with a rank of one being included in the "FS absent" row. Finally, latitude and altitude were positively correlated with one another and showed similar associations in most





18

tests, so for the sake of brevity results given only for latitude. Except where noted latitude refers to the mid-point of the species' range.

Results


Inter-individual Assessment

Immediate benefits

FS were more common and more elaborate in non-monogamous mating systems. However after the effects of body size were removed, there was no difference in the occurrence or size of FS between monogamous and non-monogamous taxa (Table 2-2 and 2-3). Sexual dimorphism in FS size was significantly reduced in monogamous species. Good genes models

Fleshy structures were not more common or larger in more showy species. However, sexual dimorphism in FS size was positively correlated with sexual dichromatism (Table 23). Species with elaborate tails were more likely to have FS at the tribe level. Fleshy structures were not significantly more common in polygynously mating species, nor did FS size increase with number of spurs or the degree of spur dimorphism. Although sexual dimorphism in FS size at the species level was significantly greater in species with above median spur dimorphism, this relationship did not persist at higher taxonomic levels. The occurrence and elaboration of FS was positively correlated with sexual size dimorphism, but this relationship is probably due the fact that more dimorphic species are also larger species.





19

Table 2-2. Occurrence of FS in galliforms relative to predictions of hypotheses for the evolution of these structures.
Hypotheses and Species Level Genus Level Tribe Level Predictions X2 (N) X2 (N) U' (N)

Immediate Benefits 3.3+ (204) 0.0 (43) -2.3* (8) FS more common in monogamy

Parasite Resistance 0.3 (52) 3.1+ (20) -0.9 (8) FS more common in taxa with high prevalence
Plumage Brightness 2.4 (204) 3.2+ (43) 0.0 (8) FS more common in brightly colored taxa

FS more common in 2.0 (204) 0.0 (43) -2.3* (8) taxa with elaborate tails

FS more common in 0.0 (202) 2.3 (42) -0.3 (8) taxa with elaborate crests

Dominance Interactions
FS more common in 3.3a+ (204) 0.0 (43) -2.3a (8) polygyny

FS more common in 2.8a+ (204) 0.1 (48) -1.2 (8) spurred taxa
FS more common in 0.3 (43) -0.3 (8) taxa sexually 5.6a (204) 0.3 (43) -0.3 (8) dimorphic for spurs

Heat Sink 6.4* (48) -2.3* (8) FS more common in 4.7 (196) 6.4* (48) 2.3* (8) taxa with lower minimum latitudal limits
Solar Collectr 2.1 (196) 6.8** (48) -1.7+ (9) FS more common in taxa with higher maximum latitudal limits

+ 0.09>P>0.05; 0.05tP>O.01; ** 0.01>P>0.001; a significant, but in opposite direction; nearly significant, but in opposite direction. Probabilities are for two-tailed tests.






20






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22

Thermnnoreulation

Fleshy structures as heat sinks.

Fleshy structure size was negatively correlated with latitude, and sexual dimorphism in FS size was positively correlated with latitude; that is, FS got smaller and more sexually dimorphic at higher latitudes (Tables 2-3). The degree of change in FS size during display was predicted to be greatest nearest the equator; however, the opposite relationship was obtained. Display change in FS size increased significantly with latitude. Solar collector
Species with higher latitudinal limits were not more likely to have FS, nor did they have smaller and more sexually dimorphic FS (Tables 2-2 and 2-3). In addition there was a positive correlation between maximum latitude and FS size change during display at the genus level. As the minimum latitudinal limits of a species increases, females become less likely to have FS and males become more likely to reveal the full extent of their FS size only during display.
Discussion

Despite the many intraspecific studies demonstrating the importance of FS to interindividual assessment, a comparative analysis did not find much support for this hypothesis as an explanation for the evolution of FS across galliform species. This result must be interpreted with caution because the expected correlates of inter-individual assessment processes (e.g., plumage brightness or spur number) are themselves only hypothesized correlates of female choice and male-male competition based on intraspecific studies. A true test of this hypothesis would necessitate standardized studies of the mate choice and competitive behavior of each species. Instead I have assumed that if FS are subject to assessment, they will co-occur with other characters that have been shown to be subject to assessment in other species. The veracity of this assumption may depend on what is being assessed (Sullivan 1994). Additionally it was not possible to include other characters that





23


may be correlated with female choice, such as intestinal parasite prevalences. Even though FS size was not correlated with the other measures of ornamentation, sexual dimorphism in FS size was positively correlated with plumage dimorphism. This finding suggests that the factors controlling these variables are the same. Because plumage dimorphism is generally attributed to female choice for male brightness, sexual dimorphism in FS size may also be explained by this selective pressure.

FS characteristics were strongly associated with the latitudinal distributions of species, even after controlling for body mass. Fleshy structures were more common, larger and more similar between the sexes in species nearer the equator. These results are consistent with a heat dissipation function for FS, in congruence with intraspecific studies (Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979; Withers & Crowe 1980). Alternatively the inverse correlation between size and latitude might be the result of the increased thermoregulatory costs of having bare skin in colder regions. The increase in display change at higher latitudes is also consistent with a cold-limiting rather than a heat-dissipation explanation. However if cold temperatures limit FS size across species, one might expect that FS occurrence and elaboration would be most strongly correlated with the maximum latitudinal limit rather than the minimum limit. This is not the case, suggesting that FS actively function in dissipating metabolic heat in species living in warm climates.

Studies of sexual selection often neglect to propose and test nonsexual hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in birds and other taxa. Balmford et al. (1993) have suggested that an ignorance of aerodynamics has led evolutionary biologists to attribute incorrectly all long bird tails to evolution by sexual selection. They argue that some types of long tails are not burdensome nor aerodynamically costly and thus would not make good indicators of male condition. Similarly characters that were assumed to be maintained solely for social signalling, such as the bushy tails of ground squirrels (Bennett et al. 1984) or the ultrasound emissions of some rodents (Thiessen 1979), or for quite mundane purposes like feeding, such as the flattened bill of most ducks (Hagan & Heath 1980), may





24

also be maintained as a result of their thermoregulatory functions. Considering alternative or congruent hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamental characters provides a better understanding of how seemingly extravagant characters can be quite functional in a practical sense. Unfortunately in the absence of an accurate, detailed phylogeny it is impossible to determine if FS first evolved for heat dissipation or in sexual selection. Comparative studies of the probable ancestral states of ornamentation and behavior have provided unique insight into how sexually selected characters first come under assessment by females (Basolo 1990; Hill 1994). Similar studies of ornamental characters with both sexually selected and naturally selected hypotheses in mind may provide a better understanding of how extravagant characters can evolve despite their apparent costs.
Fleshy structures differ from other forms of ornamentation in many ways. They are

living integumentary outgrowths and thus have inherent costs that other nonliving forms of ornamentation, such as big tails or long spurs, do not possess. Similarly the highly vascularized nature of FS makes them more likely to be functional outside of the realm of reproduction. Therefore, they are uniquely suited for identifying the conflicting forces of sexual and natural selection that produce different suites of elaboration in separate populations of the same or closely related species (Endler 1983; Kodric-Brown 1990). A recognition among empiricists and theoreticians that ornamental structures may have multiple beneficial functions, such as the apparent heat dissipation value of FS, the thermoregulatory values of squirrel tails, ultrasonic emissions and duck bills, may advance our understanding of the evolution of extravagant characters.













CHAPTER 3
ADAPTIVE FEMALE CHOICE FOR
MALE FLESHY STRUCTURES IN WILD TURKEYS

Introduction

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a familiar example of a sexually dimorphic species exhibiting an array of extravagant behavioral and morphological characters that serve no obvious useful function other than to attract mates. Males weigh more than twice as much as females and have iridescent feathers, a large fan-like tail, a long hair-like beard projecting from their chest, tarsal spurs and an unfeathered head and neck. The unfeathered neck is covered with pebble-like red bumps called side caruncles, that may fuse to form horizontal bands of bumpy skin (Figure 3-1). At the base of the front of the neck are three or four roughly elliptical pillow-like outgrowths called frontal caruncles. The skullcap on the crown of the head has thickened skin that ranges in color from red to white and light blue and appears to change depending on the motivational state of the animal. Perhaps most striking is a distensible process at the base of the upper bill called the snood. Finally a thin dewlap stretches from beneath the lower mandible down to the frontal caruncles. This extravagantly ornamented bird is uniquely suited to testing models of female choice because it is a highly polygynous species and males associate with females only for mating and never provide care for their offspring.
Although we cannot be sure by which selective process any one of the turkey's
many ornaments has evolved during the history of this species, the evolutionary history of a character can be inferred by examining the selective pressures maintaining such characters in the present By testing the mating preferences of captive female wild turkeys and




25





26










b




































Figure 3-1. Unfeathered head ornamentation of mature male wild turkey: a) skullcap; b) relaxed snood; c) dewlap; d) frontal caruncles; e) side caruncles.





27


examining the correlates of the preferred types of ornamentation in wild males, I investigate how female choice may be maintaining the extravagant ornamentation of male wild turkeys.

Hypotheses of indirect benefits of female choice fall into two types: good genes and arbitrary preferences. Both types predict that females will exert directional selection for the more exaggerated form of male ornamentation (i.e. they prefer bigger, brighter, louder, etc. forms of the trait). Good genes models propose that the character in question is assessed by females because it is an indicator of the heritable vigor of the bearer. Male vigor or viability is a measure of a male's ability to survive acute or chronic factors that limit fitness. There are two principal types of good genes hypotheses. The handicap model (Grafen 1990a; Zahavi 1975) proposes that ornamentation reduces average male survival enabling females to assess any individual male's ability to survive despite his burdensome ornament. In this case females that choose to mate with more highly ornamented males have higher fitness because of the increased survivorship of their female offspring, who carry the male's superior survival genes but do not express the sex-limited genes for handicapping ornamentation. Male offspring who have genes for the attractive handicap experience increased mating success in addition to increased survivorship. In the other type of good genes models, females are assessing male ornamentation because it specifically indicates a second, less visible trait determining male fitness. Hamilton and Zuk (1982) propose that females assess the quality of male ornamentation because these characters are particularly good indicators of the parasite burden of the bearer. In the parasite-assessment model, females benefit from choosing the more ornamented males because their offspring will inherit the male's ability to avoid deleterious infection. In similar models, the male's foraging success (Kodric-Brown 1989) or age (Manning 1985; 1989) is honestly indicated by his ornamentation.
Arbitrary preference models, on the other hand, hypothesize that the character

reveals nothing of the abilities or heritable vigor of the male but is nonetheless preferred by females. Fisher's (1958) theory of runaway selection proposed that an initial female





28


preference for a male character that came about by natural selection or genetic drift could become genetically linked to the male trait, resulting in elaboration of the trait beyond its original utility. Similarly other authors (Kirkpatrick 1987; Enquist & Arak 1993) suggest that specific attributes of male characters, such as color, shape or frequency, elaborate over evolutionary time because they more effectively stimulate existing biases in the sensory system of the female. In these models male offspring of females exercising an arbitrary preference have greater reproductive success due to the character they inherit Because the arbitrary preference model is empirically distinguishable only by the absence of a correlation between the male character and measures of male viability, it proves difficult to test. The arbitrary preference model remains a default or null hypothesis in studies where a female preference is detected but the adaptive reason for the preference is not explained by the good genes model (Buchholz 1991). The only way to distinguish between the good genes and arbitrary models of female choice, when it is not possible to monitor the next generation, is by examining the relationship between variation in ornamentation and variation in male viability.

Extensive research on the factors limiting population size in wild turkeys suggests three major selective pressures: diseases and parasites, predation, and weather (Dickson 1992). Population surveys have detected over 100 species of viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoal, metazoal and arthropod parasites that may limit the fitness of turkeys (Davidson & Wentworth 1992). Although the impact of most of these parasites on their hosts is unknown, experimental studies using domestic or captive wild turkeys have suggested that a poxvirus (Forrester 1991), a proventricular nematode (Hon et al. 1975; 1978), and blood parasites (Forrester et al. 1974; 1980; Atkinson et al. 1988) have the most severe impact on host survival, particularly of juveniles. High levels of predation on nests and on nesting or brooding females is well documented (Miller & Leopold 1992). Finally weather conditions in the northern areas of the wild turkey's range affect survivorship and fecundity. Populations subject to deep snow can suffer widespread starvation and mortality





29


approaching 60% (Healy 1992b). Food limitation during winter is probably not limited to the northern areas of the wild turkey's distribution. A twenty-fold increase in visits to artificial feeders during Jan-March suggests that winter food may be limited in Florida as well (Powell 1965). How might females detect males that are superior in their abilities to cope with these factors?

The handicap model predicts that females will prefer ornaments that reduce male survival. These might be characters that make males more subject to predation, invite challenge from competitors or increase the risk of starvation. To test the handicap principle of ornamentation, experimental manipulation of the quality of male ornamentation of wild individuals would be necessary. Because a test of the handicap model is beyond the scope of this study, I do not discuss the predictions of this hypothesis further. However anecdotal evidence addressing this hypothesis is presented in the discussion.
Since parasites are a ubiquitous problem for wild turkeys, the Hamilton and Zuk (1982) theory of mate choice as an adaptation against parasitism seems a plausible explanation for the maintenance of FS in this species. If turkey hens are using male ornamentation to assess parasite burden, the intensity of infection by the most deleterious parasites should be inversely correlated with the quality of male ornamentation that females are using to choose a mate. To be favored by females, these ornaments should be better indicators of parasite burden than other anatomical structures, such as bill or tarsus length.

Adult male wild turkeys begin their energetic courtship displays in early spring, often while snow remains on the ground, relying on their fat reserves for sustenance (Pelham & Dickson 1992). If the ability to access food and store energy for surviving winter snow storms is an important determinant of survival as previous research suggests, females may use the quality of a male's display as an indication of stored energy reserves. If this is the case, female choice should rely heavily on the most energetic parts of the male display and on any other characters that might be indicative of fat reserves, such as body condition.





30

Age is perhaps the most honest indicator of good genes. Males that survive despite parasites, predators, and food shortages have demonstrated their superior ability merely by remaining alive. Thus females may choose mates based on ornamentation that reliably reveals male age. Although beard length and body weight are positively correlated with age, spur length is thought to be the best indicator of yearly age classes in eastern wild turkeys (M. g. silvestris; Kelly 1975; Steffen et al. 1990). This suggests that females should choose to mate with males with longer spurs.
The arbitrary preference models for the evolution of male ornamentation predict no relationship between ornamentation and male survival or condition. If the characters chosen by females are not related to any of the factors that limit turkey survival or fecundity, it seems reasonable to conclude that they are maintained purely by the increased mating success of the male without any direct increase in the reproductive success of the female. I test these hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in wild turkeys with experimental data collected from captive mate-choice trials and correlational data collected from wild caught males.

Methods

Study Species
Day-old wild turkey poults were purchased in May 1991 from a gamefarm (L&L Pheasantry, Hegins, PA, USA) whose large breeder flock continued to experience gene flow from wild males (MN. g. silvestris ) until a decade ago. Poults were raised indoors under heat lamps with gamebird starter feed (Purina Startena, 30% protein) and water provided ad libitum After eight weeks the birds were transferred to a large (5.3m x 5.3m x 2.6m) outdoor pen at the Florida Museum of Natural History's Special Projects Laboratory.

After 14 weeks of age, males were maintained separately from the females in two visually isolated groups of 16 in sand-floored aviaries (5.3m x 5.3m x 2.6m). Females were moved to a cement-floored pen (5m x 12m x 4m) that was visually isolated from the





31


males. To minimize wastage only as much feed (Purina Grower or Maintenance, 19 or 12% protein) as could be consumed in 3-4 hours was provided daily, varying seasonally. Additionally a variety of green forage (e.g., cut grass, bamboo leaves, etc.) was provided twice a week. Water was available adlib.

Very limited displaying observed during pilot studies in early 1992 was attributed to suppression by dominant males in the relatively crowded, group housing. To alleviate this problem all males were housed individually in cylindrical wire cages (1.3 m in diameter and lm high) at 15 months of age. Black plastic dividers prevented males from physically interacting with males in neighboring pens, although they could see and hear other males in pens 4 m away. Each male was fed approximately 0.5 1 of breeder rations (Purina Layena, 20% protein) daily, along with occasional peanuts, wild bird seed, or carrot or apple slices. Water was provided in 0.51 containers and was replaced daily.

Mate Choice Experiments

To investigate how wild turkey ornamentation may have evolved by female choice it is necessary to test the assumptions and predictions of the good genes and arbitrary preference models. First do females mate randomly with respect to male traits, and if not, which traits do they assess in prospective mates? Second are the characters assessed by females particularly good indicators of the male's success in dealing with factors limiting the fitness of wild turkeys?

The mating preferences of female wild turkeys were tested in two experiments. In the Live Male experiment, females were given a choice between two naturally displaying males. The characteristics of males chosen by females were compared to the characteristics of males not chosen by females to identify the characters correlated with female choice. The Male Model experiment gave females a choice between two artificial males that differed only in the amount of head ornamentation. The model experiment ensures that the character





32


thought to be assessed by females in the live male experiment is not merely the correlate of another unmeasured character actually under assessment by females. Live male experiment

Live males. Thirty-three, 20-month old males were exposed to an artificial

photoperiod of 14 hours for four weeks prior to and during the mate choice tests. Prior to the mate choice trials, males were classified as "displayers" or "nondisplayers" based on whether they strutted consistently during a half hour observation period on each day of the week before the first trials. During the trials no "nondisplayers" became "displayers," but the reverse was true. The 11 males classified as consistent displayers were used in the mate choice trials. Seven ornamental characters were measured prior to the first trial. Relaxed snood length was measured from the point of attachment at its base to the tip with a small ruler. The snood was measured again after being stretched by attaching a clip to the tip of the snood and pulling on the clip with a Pesola scale to a tension of 30 g. The maximum vertical and horizontal diameter of each frontal caruncle, as well as its thickness, was measured with a ruler. The radii of the frontal caruncles was converted to an approximation of total caruncle area using the equation for the area of an ellipse (A=absr). The red, polyplike projections on the neck called side caruncles were counted. The width of each half of the thickened, whitish skullcap was measured by placing the ruler in a line from the most posterior point at which the skullcap halves meet along the middle of the cranium to a point dorsal to the middle of the eye. The beard was measured from where the "hairs" leave the skin to its greatest length. Briefly, tarsal spur length was measured from where the spur enters the scaled skin to the distal tip (Kelly 1975). Tarsus length was measured from the articulation of the tarsometatarsus with the tibiotarsus to the third scute of the central phalange of the foot. Weight divided by tarsus length was used as an index of male body condition and is referred to as such or merely as male condition.





33

Females. Twenty-three, 20-month old female wild turkeys were exposed to an

artificial photoperiod of 14 hours for four weeks prior to, and during, the mate choice tests in January-March 1993.

Experimental design. The large cage used for housing the females was subdivided into three sections to serve as a mate choice arena (Figure 3-2a). The female flock was housed in one half of the aviary during the experiment. Each female was admitted singly to the choice area through a door in the opaque plastic barrier that prevented the untested females from seeing the displays of the males or the choices made by subject females. An additional opaque barrier prevented the males from directly interacting with one another. The subject female was separated from the males by hardware cloth that had been painted black to make it less visible. Each female was tested only once and was presented with a unique pairing of males that was never presented to any other female. In total 11 males were used 2-4 times each (mean= 3.3); there was not a significant correlation between the number of times each male was presented and the frequency of female choice (Spearman Rank Correlation, rs=0.51, P= 0.14). Males were assigned to the two display areas randomly on the afternoon before the trial. Only one trial was conducted in any 24 hr period from 14 Jan-12 March 1993, between 08:00-16:00 hrs. During the ten minute pretrial period before the female was admitted, the frequency of spontaneous strutting by each male and the degree of snood distention (on a scale of 0-4) were recorded. Snood distention was recorded again immediately after the female was admitted and strutting frequency was recorded until the female solicited one of the males. Females revealed their choice of mate by "crouching" (Healy 1992a), a conspicuous mating solicitation posture exhibited in front of the chosen male. The time spent by the female in front of each male was also recorded until solicitation. Trials in which females did not solicit within 30 min were excluded from analysis. The two males from a failed trial were tested again with a new female the next day.





34











I Live Male 1 Holding Area FEMALE


Live Male 2











Male Model 1 Male Model 2 FEMALE







Figure 3-2. Mate choice arenas. A) Female is admitted from a holding area to the choice area where she has a choice of two displaying males; B) A female is given the choice of soliciting one of two artificial males that differ only in their snood length and side caruncle number. Screen divider between males and female is represented by thin line.





35

Data analysis. The characters correlated with female mate choice were determined by comparing the characteristics of the male solicited with those of the male not solicited in each trial. Wilcoxon matched pairs signed-rank tests were used with characters that were independent of other characters (Siegel, 1956). However some of the measurements of male ornamentation covaried strongly with each other and with tarsus length (Table 3-1), making it difficult to tease apart the relative contribution of these characters to mate choice. Principal component factor analysis was used to isolate independent axes of variation in the correlation matrix of the five most highly covarying characters (tarsus length, spur length, skull cap width, stretched snood length and frontal caruncle area). Frontal caruncle area was transformed by log (x) 0.5 when combined with linear measurements in the factor analysis. Subsequently these axes were transformed (i.e. rotated) using the varimax solution to generate four orthogonal axes on which the variables were loaded as uniquely as possible (Table 3-2). These axes provided four sets of independent axis scores, each set composed largely of only one character unlike the strongly covarying raw data, that could be used to determine which of these five characters was most important to a female's choice of males.

For each trial the differences between the scores of the males presented to the female were calculated by subtracting the score of the male not chosen from that of the male that was chosen. If females chose males at random with respect to these characters, the distribution of the differences between preferred and not preferred males would be expected to have a mean of zero. A positive mean is expected if females are choosing males with the larger or greater forms of these characters as hypothesized. Because females were used only once, male pairings were unique in every trial and the difference between male characters was used in the analyses. This means that each trial was independent despite the fact that most males were used more than once. Data analysis utilized the "Spin" abilities of SASjmp (SAS Institute Inc. 1989) and the general statistics of Statview (Abacus Concepts






36











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37


Inc. 1986). Where appropriate, mean values in the results are followed by the standard error of those measurements.

Male model experiment

Male models. Each female was admitted singly to an arena (Figure 3-2b) in which she had a choice of interacting with either of two artificial males modified from plastic hunting decoys of hens. These models were altered in the following ways to make them appear like strutting males. The heads of the two decoys were painted simultaneously with alternating brush strokes of enamel paint so that they resembled one another as closely as possible. The skullcap was painted a light blue, the orbital area a dark blue, the dewlap and throat were painted red, the sides and back of the neck were painted pink with narrow red rings applied around the circumference. Natural beards were removed from two domestic turkey gobblers. Each beard was divided in two, with equal numbers of "hairs," and then these were trimmed to 17 cm in length and applied to the models.

The decoys have a closed tail, typical of a resting bird. However strutting males

have a fanned tail. Two artificial fans were constructed from colored poster board, glue and black permanent marker. The vertical diameter of the tail was 33 cm and the horizontal radius was 69 cm. The fanned tails were positioned just behind the wing tips of the decoys and held in place from behind with two thin wooden dowels that were stuck in the ground to stabilize the tail. The models themselves were mounted on a wooden dowel so that their backs were at a height of 0.65 m. Strutting turkeys drag the primary feathers of their wings on the ground, but I made no attempt to simulate this posture; the models had their wings in the normal resting position on their sides.
To provide the sound of strutting, a recording of a single strut from a commercially available video (Griffen Productions 1990) was played back alternately between the males so that each male model "strutted" four times per minute. One small 5 watt speaker was placed to the side and behind each male and aimed towards the area immediately in front of the male. Using the individual volume controls on the speakers and a Tandy sound meter, I





38

was able to ensure that the amplitude of the struts were equal (73 db) at a point 0.75 m immediately in front of each male.

The male models were identical in coloration, tail size, beard length and display frequency. To test whether the most variable types of fleshy head ornamentation seen in live males affect mate choice, it was necessary to construct artificial snoods and caruncles for the artificial males. Four snoods (two 4.0 cm long, two 6.6 cm long), 14 side caruncles (1.2 cm x 1.9 cm x 1 cm) and four frontal caruncles (2 cm in diameter) were constructed from latex caulking. The snoods were painted as above so that they were bluish pink, the caruncles of both types were painted red. These were applied with small pieces of doublesided tape so that one male model was "more ornamented", i.e. given a long snood coupled with 5 caruncles on each side of his neck, while the "less ornamented" male was given the shorter snood and only two caruncles on each side of his neck. Both males had two frontal caruncles placed side by side at the base of the front of their necks. Only snood length and side caruncle number were varied because these characters were the most variable in wildcaught males. One or more of the bodies, tails, beards, snoods or caruncles were exchanged between the models after each trial and the position of the more ornamented male was randomized. Thus female preference could be attributed to the only consistent difference between the males: snood length and side caruncle number.

Females. Twenty-three 17-month old female wild turkeys were implanted with a 21 day-release pellet of 25 mg of estradiol (Innovative Research of America, Toledo, OH, USA) on 3 Dec. 1992. After 10 days, when most females were exhibiting sexual behavior, mate choice trials were conducted.

Experimental design. Male model trials were conducted between 08:00-16:00 h from 13 Dec-15 Dec 1992. The playback of the strut recording was started before each female was admitted singly to the arena via a remotely opened door. Starting the moment the female stepped into the middle of the arena from the waiting area, I recorded the amount





39

of time she spent in each model's half of the arena. A trial ended when the female solicited or after 20 min had passed. Each female was tested only once.

Data analysis. If females chose mates at random with respect to male snood length and caruncle number, an equal number of more ornamented and less ornamented males should be solicited. However if females prefer males with the more elaborate form of these traits, the more ornamented male should be solicited significantly more often. A Binomial test (Siegel 1956) was used to test the statistical significance of the results. Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males

Free-living male wild turkeys were captured and measured to determine if male

ornamentation serves as a good indicator of male viability. Yearling male wild turkeys were captured with bait drugged with alpha chloralose (Williams & Austin 1988) at Paynes Prairie State Preserve in Alachua Co., Florida, USA between February and March of 1991 and 1992. Ornamentation was measured as described above for captive males, with the exception of skullcap width, which was not measured. Drugged birds were kept indoors in boxes specially designed for transporting wild turkeys until they had recovered sufficiently for safe release (24-96 hr).

The number of attached ticks on the head and neck and on the undersides of both wings were counted. In addition the lice on the feathers of the chest, back and rump were counted by lifting and scanning the feathers of each region for two minutes. Blood smears were made from each individual using blood collected with a heparinized capillary tube from the alar vein. The smears were air dried, fixed in 100% methanol, and stained. Blood parasite burden was measured as the number of blood cells infected with hematozoa seen per 30 minutes of scanning under oil immersion at 100x. Fecal samples were collected 3x a day from the boxes of the recovering birds. One gram from each sample was mixed with 20 ml of a saturated NaNO3 solution and filtered through cheese cloth into a centrifuge tube. The tube was filled to the very top so that a coverslip placed on the tube opening





40


would remain adhered there during the subsequent 5 minutes of centrifugation at 1500 rpm. During centrifugation most parasite "eggs" either float to the top and adhere to the coverslip or sink to the bottom, depending on their specific gravity. After centrifugation the coverslip was placed on a microscope slide and thoroughly scanned. Parasite eggs were identified and counted directly or when present in very large numbers, estimated with the use of a McMaster's slide. There are at least 6 species of eimerian coccidia that infect turkeys (Davidson & Wentworth 1992). Unfortunately, these species are difficult to identify and could only be categorized as having large or small oocysts in this study. The sediment of each centrifuge tube was throughly examined for trematode and other eggs under a dissecting microscope.

Additional measures of ornamentation and blood smears were collected from eight hunter-killed wild turkeys at Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, Florida, in March 1990.

Results


Live Males Experiment

Eighteen of the 23 females tested signalled their choice of mates by soliciting

copulation from one of the two males presented in each trial. Traits of males solicited and not solicited are compared in Table 3-3. Females strongly preferred males with comparatively higher scores on the second rotated component, i.e. those with longer snoods and wider skullcaps (unpaired t-test, one-tailed, v =17, mean=1.01, t=3.65, P=0.001). The length of the male's snood during display, the character state actually visible for assessment by females, was strongly correlated with the relaxed and stretched snood measurements (rs=0.80, n=11, P--0.01; rs=0.75, n=l 1, P=--0.02, respectively). The other variables that loaded on the first, third and fourth axes: tarsus length, frontal caruncle area and spur length, respectively, did not account for female choice of males (t-tests, one-tailed, P>0.05). Characters analyzed individually, i.e. pre-trial strut rate, trial strut rate,






41




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42


male condition, frontal caruncle depth, side caruncle number, and beard length, also did not explain female mating preference (Wilcoxon signed rank tests, P>>0.05). In the live male trials females spent significantly more time with the male that they solicited (1.7 0.72 min for the chosen male vs. 0.42 0.17 min for the male not chosen; Mann-Whitney U-test, nl=17, n2=17, U=74, U1=215, P=0.02). The mean time until solicitation was 2.1 0.85 min. Time until solicitation was not dependent on the similarity of the scores or measures of any of the variables of the two males (Spearman rank correlation, P>0.05). The three females who did not choose the male with the higher of the two scores for the second factor seemed to mate more quickly on average than females who did (1.00.8 min vs. 2.31.0 min).

Male Models Experiment

Of the 23 females tested in the male model trials, only nine solicited copulation from the decoys. One female solicited immediately in the center of the entrance way of the arena and thus her choice was ambiguous and this trial was excluded. Of the eight remaining females, who clearly solicited on only one side of the arena, seven solicited before the more ornamented model. This preference for the more ornamented model was statistically significant (Binomial Test, one-tailed, P=0.035). Six of the eight females spent more time with the model male that they subsequently solicited; however, this difference is not statistically significant (Binomial Test, one-tailed, P-0.145). The two females who did not spend more time with their preferred male also took much longer to choose (mean= 9 min vs. 1.7 min, overall mean= 4 min). Three of the females that chose the more ornamented model never spent any time on the side of the less ornamented decoy. The single female that solicited the less ornamented decoy never visited the more ornamented model but solicited in a typical amount of time (1.88 min).

Nine of the 14 nonsoliciting females were obviously distressed, as evidenced by frequent alarm calling or frantic attempts to exit the arena, despite a training period. These females showed no preference for either side of the arena (Binomial Test, two-tailed,





43


P--0.5). The remaining five females who neither solicited nor alarm called engaged in nonsexual behaviors such as dust-bathing or preening. They also showed no preference for either half of the arena (Binomial Test, two-tailed, P=1). Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males

Nine yearling male wild turkeys were captured, measured and screened for parasites (Table 3-4). All males sampled for these ectoparasites (7 of 9) had attached ticks (Argasidae and Ixodidae). Ticks were most common on bare areas along the alar vein under the wing, but also occurred on the back of the head. The total tick burden was not significantly correlated with any measure of male ornamentation or body size (all P >0.05). The number of ticks attached on the head, however, was positively correlated with the relaxed length of the snood (rs= 0.7, n= 9, P=0.05). Lice were most common on the rump (only one of seven males had no rump lice) but were not correlated with male ornamentation (all P> 0.05). Half of the eight males sampled for back lice were infected. Numbers of lice on the back were significantly negatively correlated with the number of side caruncles on males (rs=-0.66, n=8, P=0.03) and showed a similar trend with the length of the tarsal spurs (rs=-0.53, n=8, P=0.07). Total lice numbers were not correlated with any measure of male ornamentation, size or condition (all P>>0.05).

One to five fecal samples were collected from each bird (mean=3.4+0.6). Fecal analysis revealed two parasites to be common: a protozoan coccidia (Eimeria spp.) and a cecal nematode (Trichostrongylus tenis). Eggs from an unidentified cestode were also detected in one fecal sample flotation. Sediments from the fecal samples appeared completely free of parasite eggs.

All nine males had infections with the large coccidia and eight of nine were infected with small coccidia. Eineria burdens were not negatively correlated with tarsus length, mass or condition (all P>> 0.05). However coccidia burden was negatively correlated with some measures of male ornamentation. Average burdens of the large eimerian were





44


Table 3-4. Parasite loads of one-year-old, wild caught, male wild turkeys.
Parasite % Occurrence (N) Mean Load (SE)
ticks
head 100 (9) 8.4 (3.8) wing 100 (9) 17.3 (3.5) total 100 (9) 25.8 (5.9)
lice
back 50 (8) 2.0 (1.0) rump 86 (7) 6.8 (2.3) total 100 (7) 7.0 (2.8)
Eimeria oocyts
large 100 (9) 342.2 (190) small 89 (9) 2276.2 (2042) total 100 (9) 2618.4 (2214)
Trichostrongylus eggs
total 56 (9) 22.3 (14.81)
Blood Parasites
Haemoproteus 86 (7) 7.3 (2.5) Leucocytozoon 14 (7) 0.1 (+0.1) Plasmodium 43 (7) 0.6 (0.3)





45


significantly negatively correlated with the relaxed snood length of males (rs=-0.78, n=9, P=0.03). Average burdens of the small eimerians showed a similar, though nonsignificant, negative trend with relaxed snood length (rs=-0.63, n=9, P=0.07). The overall average coccidia burden showed a very strong significantly negative correlation with relaxed snood length (rs=-0.84, n=9, P=0.02).

Individuals with extremely high burdens of coccidia in one sample (e.g., tens of thousands) never had samples with very low numbers of oocysts. Individuals with lower burdens (e.g., hundreds of oocysts) generally had at least one sample in which no or few oocysts were detected. It appears that heavily infected animals are subject to a more chronic and potentially more debilitating release of oocysts from the gut than are animals with lower infections, perhaps because more species of coccidia are causing the infection. If this is the case, perhaps the minimum sample is a better indicator of susceptibility. Relaxed snood length was not more strongly correlated with the lowest (or highest) burden sampled than with the average total burden, although these measures were significantly or nearly significantly negatively correlated with relaxed snood length (rs= -0.55 to -0.82, n=9, 0.02

0.09). Stretched snood length on the other hand was not significantly associated with average coccidia burden but was significantly negatively correlated with the lowest measurements of the large, small and total eimerian burdens (rs= -0.66, -0.70, -0.70, respectively; n= 9, P_ 0.05). Also there were nonsignificant negative trends in correlation between large, small and total lowest coccidia burden per male and frontal caruncle area (all rs= -0.63, n=9, P=0.06) and between lowest burdens of small coccidia and frontal caruncle depth (rs=-0.74, n=8, P=0.06). The tendency of some ornaments to be correlated with the minimum sample burden suggest that this may be a more sensitive measure of parasite burden than average or maximum burdens.

The thread nematode (Trichostronvlus tennis) was present in five of the nine males sampled. Average nematode egg burdens were not correlated with male ornamentation, body size or condition.





46


Data from hunter-killed animals showed that relaxed (Mann-Whitney U test, U--0, U1=16, nl=4, n2-4, P--0.03) or stretched (Mann-Whitney U test, U-0, U1=12, nl=4, n2=4, P-0.03) snood length could be used to distinguish between first year and older males. Over the three year classes measured, relaxed snood length increased significantly (rho= 0.79, n=8, P= 0.04) but stretched length only showed a nonsignificant trend (rho= 0.71, n=8, P= 0.09) with age. These correlations became nonsignificant when the effects of body condition were removed by partial regression. However relaxed snood length remained strongly correlated with male condition if the effects of age are removed (rho=0.56, n=13, P=0.05).

Discussion


The results provide support for a parasite-driven explanation for the maintenance of female choice for male ornamentation in wild turkeys (Hamilton & Zuk 1982). They do not support the arbitrary preference model. Females preferred to mate with males that had longer snoods and broader skullcaps; two tightly covarying male traits. Although skullcaps were not measured on wild individuals, stretched and relaxed snood length were longest in individuals with lower and less chronic burdens of coccidian oocysts. Surveys in the wild have shown this parasite to be quite widespread; 46-100% of turkey poults are infected and 40% of droppings collected from adults contain oocysts (reviewed by Davidson & Wentworth 1992). Perhaps because this parasite is often ignored during searches for internal parasites (Ruff et al. 1988), coccidiosis is not commonly suspected to contribute to the mortality of adult wild turkeys. However laboratory transmission of Eimeria from wild individuals to domestic poults proves these parasites have the potential to be highly pathogenic (Prestwood et al. 1973). Chronic effects of coccidiosis in domestic poultry include delayed maturation due to decreased plasma testosterone levels (Ruff 1988), decreased egg and sperm production and lower fertility (Bressler et al. 1951; Ruff et al. 1984; Ogbuokiri & Edgar 1986; Ruff & Wilkins 1987). If similar effects occur in wild





47

populations, and if resistance to coccidia in wild turkeys is heritable as it is in domestic poultry (Johnson & Edgar 1982), females that choose mates that are resistant to Eimeria would have greater fitness because their offspring are relieved of the deleterious effects of these parasites. Thus female choice for male snood length appears to be a behavioral adaptation against parasitism.

The beard, frontal caruncles and other aspects of male ornamentation were not subject to female choice, despite the fact that there is some indication that they may also indicate parasite burden. Why did females not discriminate among males by these characters? There are three possible explanations. First and most obvious, is that the captive turkeys of the eastern subspecies are not subject to the same selective pressures as the wild osceol males sampled in Florida. Limited data suggest that parasite burdens may be lower in the northern parts of the wild turkey's range (Sasseville et al. 1988) Second the apparent trends between caruncle quality and other parasites may be the spurious result of using multiple statistical tests. Larger sample sizes of wild males are needed to document the reliability of these other ornaments as indicators of parasite burden to females. Last, studies of female choice in other galliformes have shown year to year shifting in some of the male characters that are assessed (e.g., Zuk et al. 1992), suggesting that frontal caruncles, which appear to be inversely correlated with parasite burden, may be important in mate assessment in other years.

Threadworms, Trichostrongylus. have a dramatic effect on the fitness of some other galliforms, particularly grouse (Hudson & Dobson 1991), but infections in wild turkeys are generally not severe enough to cause pathologies (Davidson & Wentworth 1992) and therefore it was not surprising that these nematodes did not affect the degree of male ornamentation. Similarly ectoparasite burdens were low and probably have a subtle, cumulative effect on male condition not readily revealed by ornamentation (e.g., Booth et al. 1993).





48


Because harsh winters limit survivorship in wild turkeys, it was hypothesized that females should try to assess male ability to survive such conditions. It was hypothesized that turkey hens could assess male condition by the male's ability to perform energetically costly displays. This hypothesis was not supported directly. Male condition and display frequency during the mate choice trial did not explain variation in female choice. In fact some females solicited so quickly that they would have had little opportunity to measure male strut frequency. However the characters females assessed during mate choice, snood length and skullcap width, were positively correlated with the male's average strut frequency over all his trials (Table 2-1). In the well-fed captive turkeys neither average strut frequency, relaxed or stretched snood lengths nor display snood length were correlated with male condition. But after statistically removing any effects of age, the stretched snood length of wild males was significantly positively correlated with male condition and age was no longer correlated with snood length. Although male strut frequency was apparently not assessed by females during the mate choice trials, females mated with males that strutted at a higher rate and that were in better condition by choosing males with longer snoods and wider skullcaps. Further field captures and experimental manipulations will be necessary to determine if display rate is a specific indicator of the stored fat resources of the male.

Male age is perhaps the best indicator of a male's good genes. Older males are probably not a random sample in terms of natural selection; they have survived multiple challenges over time, including parasitism, starvation and predation. One hypothesis for the maintenance of male ornamentation in wild turkeys is that these characters serve as indicators of male age. In this study captive females did not choose among 2 year old males based on previously documented age class indicators, such as spur length. This may be because these cues provide no information when males are very similar, i.e. within one age class. Unfortunately previous studies of correlates of wild turkey age have ignored the head ornamentation of males (Kelly 1975; Steffen et al. 1990). Results from a limited sample of wild males covering three age classes shows that the characters females are assessing in





49


mate choice are not good indicators of male age because age covaries with body condition. A larger sample size is needed to tease apart these two variables. For example, more field data are needed to determine if the snood lengths of heavily parasitized, older males are shorter than lightly parasitized, younger males. In any case snood length within one age class appears to be a reliable cue to the body condition of the bearer as well as to the coccidia burden among males.
The handicap model for the maintenance of male ornamentation proposes that females assess a male's ability to survive despite his burdensome ornaments. Field experiments that record the reproductive success and survivorship of manipulated males are necessary to test this hypothesis. Nevertheless anecdotal observations provide some support for the handicap model. The conspicuous ornamentation and courtship displays of male wild turkeys attract predators and are thought to increase their risk of predation (Miller & Leopold 1992). The uninsulated bare head of males may also represent a thermoregulatory handicap. Birds generally lose large quantities of heat from feathered heads (Hill et al. 1980). Unfeathered heads such as the turkey's should lose even more heat and may hasten male starvation during severe winter storms. Since there is no clear advantage to having bare heads in winter, it seems reasonable to suggest that the bare heads of male wild turkeys may have evolved as a handicap. Similarly other forms of male ornamentation, such as the beard and fanned tail, might serve as handicaps.
This study suggests that the snood and skullcap of males are maintained by female choice for males with low burdens of coccidia. Also these traits may be used by females to choose older males as mates and perhaps males that have more body fat. Snood length and skullcap appear to be the only aspects of male ornamentation under direct selection by females. The selective pressures maintaining the striking array of extravagant ornamentation of wild turkeys is only partly explained. Males have strikingly colored caruncles on their head and neck, a long beard projecting from their chest, iridescent feathers and a large fan-like tail that are apparently not subject to female choice, but may





50

instead play a role in male-male competition (Chapter 4) or be maintained because of its other functions (Chapter 5).













CHAPTER 4
MALE DOMINANCE AND VARIATION IN FLESHY HEAD ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS

Introduction

The mating system of wild turkeys has been classified as male-dominance polygyny (Williams & Austin 1988). In the breeding season males vocalize ("gobble") to attract flocks of receptive females and then follow and display to those hens throughout the day. During this time other males may be attracted to the same females and battles between males over mating access often result (Watts & Stokes 1971). Because males are unable to obtain exclusive access to females by defending food or other resources that female turkeys need (Emlen & Oring 1977; Hurst 1992), they control access to the females themselves. As a result male wild turkeys engage in frequent, direct, agonistic interactions that determine mating success (Watts & Stokes 1971). These agonistic interactions begin when the males are juveniles and establish dominance heirarchies within their age cohort (Healy 1992a) and continue as males encounter and fight with other males after dispersal from the natal territory and in subsequent breeding seasons (Watts & Stokes 1971; Williams & Austin 1988; Healy 1992a).

The War Propaganda model (Fisher 1958; Borgia 1979) proposes that in mating systems such as the wild turkey's, in which females gain no direct benefits from males and males compete for access to females, male fighting success should be assessed by females during mate choice. Females should do this because fighting ability is probably a good measure of overall male condition. Another reason to mate with dominant males is that the components of dominance may be heritable (Dewsbury 1990); therefore, a female that mates with a dominant male may have higher fitness because of an increased likelihood that


51





52

her mature male offspring will be able to gain access to hens. But females are not the only sex in which selection should favor the ability to recognize dominant males. To avoid battles in which the risk of injury outweighs gains in lifetime fitness, males should assess the condition of their competitors before fighting. Both the receiver and the signaller might benefit from the transmission of information about male condition (Rohwer 1975; Rohwer 1977). Dominant males avoid the costs of continually battling weaker males for preferential access to resources and subordinate males avoid the risk of serious injury from dominant males who are likely to be healthier and stronger and win fights (Moller 1987). Thus both females and males should assess the dominance status of males.
Fleshy ornaments are associated with intrasexual competition in many galliform species (Stokkan 1979; Brodsky 1988; Ligon et al. 1990; Holder & Montgomerie 1993) and are uniquely suited to signal male status honestly. These structures generally develop only upon sexual maturity and their size in males is known to be testosterone dependent in some species (Allee et al. 1939; Collias 1943; Stokkan 1979). Higher testosterone levels are often associated with dominance and increased aggressiveness in birds (Wingfield et al. 1987), suggesting that fleshy ornamentation may correlate with a male's dominance status. Dominant males might have relatively higher testosterone levels because they are in better physical condition (Ligon et al. 1990) or because they are able to suppress the testosterone levels of subordinate males (Lisano & Kennamer 1977).
As demonstrated earlier (Chapter 3), the snood length of male wild turkeys is a indicator of coccidia burden, condition and possibly age. This would suggest that males could use this aspect of male ornamentation to assess the vigor of males they encounter and thus consider the risks of combatting those males. If this is the case, males with longer snoods would be expected to be dominant over less ornamented males, and that males with similarly sized ornamentation should be in the most conflict over relative status. In this study I test this hypothesis by comparing the ornamentation of males matched in dyadic dominance trials. However males may establish dominance not because of ornamentation





53

itself, but because of strongly correlated attributes such as body weight Therefore I also examine the response of captive males to the presentation of artificial males that differ only in snood length and caruncle number.

Methods

A detailed description of the rearing of the wild turkeys used in these experiments, including cage sizes is provided in the previous chapter (Chapter 3). Briefly, the wild turkeys were obtained from a game farm as day-old chicks. At four months of age the females were separated from the males and the males were divided into two, visually isolated groups. Pilot observations during the spring 1992 breeding season showed that very few of the males actively strutted when group housed. Therefore when the males were 15 months old, six months before the 1994 season, the males were moved to individual pens separated by opaque dividers. This had the effect of stimulating more males to perform the strut display. Eleven of the 28 males displayed spontaneously and regularly in their individual pens. These animals were designated "displayers" and were used in the mate choice trials (described in Chapter 3) before being tested in the dominance trials. For the dominance trials, conducted in Feb-April 1993, a male from one rearing flock was matched with a male from the other flock. These males were chosen from their respective flocks at random except that "displayers" were always matched with other displayers. An additional male who displayed occassionally was used in the dyad with the odd numbered "displayer". The pairing of males based on display frequency mimics the situation in the wild where displayers usually fight one another and are avoided by nondisplaying individuals and juveniles (personal observation). Each dyad of males was measured for ornamentation and body size, as described previously (Chapter 3), on the day before the dominance trial.





54

Live Males

In the live male dominance trials, two males were admitted to a central arena (2.7m x

5.3 x 2.7m) from their respective holding pens (Figure 4-la). The males were familiarized with the arena for several hours on the day prior to the trial and had spent part of their rearing period in the pen as well. No food or mates were provided in the arena, although the males often found something to peck at on the dirt floor of the pen. This situation simulated a random meeting of unfamiliar males on common ground with no resource to contest. Trials lasted 10 minutes and were videotaped so that the rapidly occurring dominance interactions could be reviewed and transcribed later.

A heirarchy of criteria was used for designating one member of the dyad as subordinate and the other dominant. Most males actually fought with one another. Fighting begins when one male approaches the other and begins giving "fighting purrs", vocalizations that elicit combat (Healy 1992a). The other male typically responds with fighting purrs until one of them slaps the other with a wing while simultaneously kicking him. The birds continue to wing slap and kick one another until one of them suddenly turns and attempts to flee. Fleeing males are generally pursued and sometimes pecked on the head. If the males fought, the fleeing male was designated the subordinate. In some trials one male fled immediately upon encountering the first male and as a result was designated the subordinate. In one trial the males did not fight nor did one flee from the other. In this case the male that was displaced while pecking at the ground was designated the subordinate.

For each trial I recorded the number of wingflapping bouts given by each bird prior to physical contact (pecking in the absence of fights, or wing slapping/kicking in birds that fought) and latency to physical contact. A wingflapping bout consisted of the male standing in place and flapping the wings two to five times. This action pattern is often used in aggressive contexts in Galliformes (Kruijt 1964; Buchholz 1989). If the males fought I recorded the identity of the male who began giving "fighting purrs", the frequency of





55










A







Live .<~ Live Male 1 Male 2



Male in 0 Waiting













Live
Male


Figure 4-1. Male dominance trial arenas. A) Randomly matched males
are admitted to a central arena from holding pens; B) A living male is
given the choice of feeding from in front of two artificial males of
different snood lengths and side caruncle numbers. Another male waits in
a holding area.





56

pecking and kicking by each male during combat, the duration of the fight and the identity of the male that stopped fighting first and began to flee. A dark shelter was provided in the rear of the arena so that the subordinate male could hide from the aggressor. None of the males was injured.

The characteristics of the dominant male were compared with those of the

subordinate in each trial with one-tailed Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks tests (Siegel 1956) or one-tailed, unpaired t-tests on principal component factor score differences. The differences between the factor scores of the two males used in each trial, calculated as the dominant male's scores minus the subordinate male's scores, are expected to be significantly greater than zero if dominant males are more highly ornamented (as described in the methods for Chapter 3). Correlations between time measurements and differences in male ornamentation were determined using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient. Differences in ornamentation between subgroups of males, e.g., displayers and nondisplayers, were tested for statistical significance with the Mann-Whitney U test. Male Model Trials

Artificial males constructed from decoys were used to test the effects of male fleshy ornamentation on the decision-making of live males. The use of models allowed for the experimental control of male characteristics that usually covary with snood length. The model males were exactly like those used in the mate choice experiments described earlier (Chapter 3), except that they did not have fanned tails and they were not accompanied by the recorded display sounds. One male model had a long snood and many side caruncles (highly ornamented) and the other had a shorter snood and fewer side caruncles (slightly ornamented). The models were placed 1.3 m apart at one end of the rectangular arena (Figure 4-1b). The relative positions of the highly ornamented and slightly ornamented models were randomized. Approximately 15 ml of bird seed was placed in a pile on the ground immediately below the bill of each model. Males were denied food for a few hours immediately before the trial, but this appeared to have little impact on their behavior because





57

they did not feed immediately when food was returned after the trial. In any case bird seed was a preferred treat that the turkeys would eat preferentially even when their regular food was available ad libitum. During each model trial a single male was admitted through a door in one side of the arena. The latency of the males to feed from one of the seed piles was recorded. Males that did not choose a seed pile within 30 min were removed and were not retested.

Results


Live Male Trials
Fighting occurred in 8 of the 14 trials. Fights lasted on average only 46.1 sec. Out of the 6 trials in which no fighting occurred, there were three cases in which the subordinate male fled from the other male immediately. In one case the males did not fight nor flee, nor did they ever directly contact one another. The duration of fighting showed a trend toward being negatively correlated with differences in beard length between the two males (rs=

-0.51, p--0.07). During fighting only 2 of the 28 males tested, distended their snoods slightly (just past the bill opening). In both cases these males were later classified as dominant to the individual with which they were paired.
Seven of the ten male characteristics measured directly were found to be strongly correlated (r2 >0.4) with one another (Table 4-1). These were spur length, relaxed snood length, side caruncle number, skullcap width, frontal caruncle area, frontal caruncle depth and body mass. A factor analysis utilizing varimax transformation produced four factors from these variables (Table 4-2). Snood length and mass loaded on the first factor, spur length, frontal caruncle area and caruncle depth loaded on the second factor, skullcap width loaded on the third factor and side caruncle number loaded on the fourth factor. The factor scores of these variables are analyzed below in addition to the raw measurements in an attempt to identify underlying axes of variation in these characters.






58




















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60

The differences between the two males scores on factors 2, 3 and 4 were not

significantly different from zero (mean differences = -0.14, 0.5, 0.11, respectively; Table 43). However the results for factor 1, though only nearly significant, suggest that snood length and body mass may be associated with dominance in male wild turkeys (mean difference = 0.48). When the difference between dominant and subordinate males in these characters are assessed directly, without the aid of factor analysis, relaxed snood length is the only character that is significantly different between the two groups (Table 4-3). However dominant males on average had higher values for all ten of the variables measured (Binomial test, N=10, one-tailed, P=-0.06).

Individuals that started fights were no more likely to become dominant than those

that responded to the threat behavior (X2=2.27, v=1, p> 0.05). The time until first contact in the 13 trials in which contact occurred averaged 129.2 sec, although 85% were 32 sec or less. The difference in ornamentation of the males was associated with the time until first contact between males that actually fought The time until first contact was positively correlated with differences between males on the second factor (spur length, caruncle area and depth; rs= 0.52, n=13, p=0.07). This relationship was statistically significant if the raw differences in spur length are tested rather than the factor scores (rs= 0.59, p=0.04). The difference in the frequency of wingflapping bouts prior to contact, on the other hand, was negatively associated with time until first contact, although only nearly significantly (rs=

-0.50, p=--0.08).
The males had been divided into two matched groups for the dominance trials:

nondisplayers and displayers. The eleven displayer males tended to have longer stretched snoods (4.0 vs. 4.6 cm; U=56, Ul=131, p-0.08) and larger factor two scores (spur, frontal caruncle area and depth; U=52, U1= 135, p=0.05). However only caruncle depth was significantly different when the raw values of these variables were compared between the two groups (1.0 vs 1.2 cm; U=30.5, U1= 156.5, p=-0.003).






61








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62


Male Model Trials

Twenty one of the 28 males tested responded by feeding within the 30 min trial

period. Of the seven males that did not respond, two attacked the decoys (one gave fighting purrs to the less ornamented model, the other pecked the snood of the more ornamented model), four did not feed or approach the decoys, and one trial was excluded because a decoy toppled over. A significant number of the 21 males that responded under the trial conditions fed in front of the less ornamented decoy (X2= 8.0, v=1, p< 0.01). The four males who chose to feed from the seed in front of the more ornamented male tended to have smaller spurs (mean= 2.1 vs. 1.3 cm; U= 22.5, U1= 73.5, p=-0.09) and fewer side caruncles (25.7 vs. 12.8; U=18, U1=78, p=-0.05) than the 17 who fed in front of the less ornamented model. The latency of the males to feed (i.e. the time from the start of the trial until males began to feed) was not correlated with any of the male characters measured. The males who did not feed during the trial were not different from the other males in any of the measured characters (Mann Whitney U-tests, all p> 0.05).

Discussion


In dyadic encounters between wild turkeys the only male character significantly predictive of the outcome of male-male interaction was relaxed snood length. Dominant males had longer relaxed snoods than their subordinate partners. Similarly males tended to avoid feeding on seeds near model males with longer snoods in the male model trials. These complementary results strongly suggest that males assess one another's snood length as an indicator of male condition and status. Therefore it is surprising that differences in snood length do not affect the time until, or duration of, combat. If snood length is a good indicator of status, males with similar snood lengths should need to battle longer to resolve relative dominance status than pairs of males with very disparate snood lengths. Additional studies are necessary to understand why males do not adjust their investment in fighting according to their likelihood of winning.





63


Differences in several other male characters showed tendencies to be correlated with the time until first contact and the duration of fighting. Males with similar spur lengths fought each other sooner after meeting than dissimilar males. Spurs serve as weapons during battle in a number of galliforms (Davison 1985) including wild turkeys, but none of the evidence shows that the length of spurs affects the outcome of combat. In fact an experimental field study in Sweden clearly demonstrated that variation in the length of spurs is not a good predictor of dominance status in ringneck pheasants (Phasianus colchicus), although this character is assessed by females during mate choice (von Schantz et al. 1989). Spur length in wild turkeys is a reliable predictor of age (Kelly 1975) and older males tend to be larger and in better condition (Chapter 3). Therefore spur length may normally be assessed by competitors before battle in the wild where different aged animals encounter one another, but is of little significance in the outcome of trials where males are of the same age as was the case here.
Differences in the frequency of wingflapping bouts, a behavior associated with aggressiveness in other galliforms, tended to be negatively correlated with time until first contact However this behavior did not occur at a higher frequency in dominant individuals. Similarly differences in beard length between males tended towards a negative correlation with duration of fighting. The greater the difference in beard lengths between males the more quickly they tended to resolve fights. However beard length was not a good predictor of dominance status either. Beard length increases with age to some degree (Kelly 1975), but is strongly affected by abrasion and thus is probably not a consistent indicator of age across different habitats (Pelham & Dickson 1992). Studies of beard and spur development relative to agonistic interactions in mixed-age populations are needed.
In captivity males classified as "displayers" had longer stretched snoods than

nondisplayers. I did not test the relative dominance of these two types of males. Off hand it might seem reasonable to conclude that displayers will be dominant over nondisplayers because displayers have longer stretched snoods. However more caution in interpreting the





64

implications of stretched snood lengths is necessary. Snood distension is muscular (Lucas & Stettenheim 1972), therefore the difference in stretched snood length between displayers and nondisplayers may possibly be attributable to the greater exercise given the snood by the "displayer" males. Additional evidence to support this hypothesis comes from the previous chapter (Chapter 3) where average display rate (a measure of how often the snood is distended) was found to be strongly correlated with stretched snood length but only weakly correlated with relaxed snood length. For this reason it is unclear whether displaying males can be assumed to be dominant over nondisplayers based on ornamentation differences. This cautionary note serves as a reminder that behavior can influence morphology just as the reverse is true.

Snood length was strongly correlated with body mass, a factor thought to be very important to resource holding capacity and the outcome of dyadic encounters in many species (Parker 1974; Richner 1989; Beaugrand et al. 1991). In this study males differed by several kilograms in weight in some cases, and yet this variable, when measured alone, did not have a significant effect on the outcome of fighting. Snood length, on the other hand, was greater in dominant males when raw measurements were used and nearly so when factor scores were used. This suggests that snood length indicates more than just body mass to potential competitors. Results presented earlier (Chapter 3) confirm that snoods are good indicators of a number of measures of male condition, including parasite burden, energy reserves and possibly age. My results suggest that males use snood length as a general measure of the risks associated with fighting over food or status and that females use this male character to assess male condition and fighting success.

Similar results were obtained in comprehensive studies of sexual selection in red
junglefowl, Gallus Z&a; (Ligon et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; 1992). Comb length in this species is maintained by female choice. Females choose males based on comb length because this character indicates male parasite burden and fighting success. Thus the comb ofjunglefowl and the snood of wild turkeys fit Borgia's (1979) War Propaganda





65


model for the evolution of extravagant ornamentation because females are choosing males based on characters that indicate male fighting success.

In contrast studies of sexual behavior and fleshy ornamentation in grouse suggest a different scenario than that in phasianids. Comb size is a good indicator of male status in ptarmigans (Gjesdal 1977; Moss et al. 1979; Stokkan 1979) and affects how males interact (Holder & Montgomerie 1993), but this character is not under direct selection by females. Instead female ptarmigan preferentially mate with males whose combs show less damage from fighting. In larger grouse comb characteristics appear to be unimportant to female mate choice (Alatalo et al. 1991). Why do females assess male fleshy ornamentation differently in phasianids and grouse? One reason may be that phasianids have permanently exposed fleshy ornaments, while grouse can hide their combs beneath feathers. The facultative nature of comb exposure makes it more difficult for females to assess the size of the comb. As a consequence females are selected to base their mate choice on a more easily and quickly assessed characteristic (Sullivan 1994), such as scarring and damage from fighting (Brodsky 1988). This interpretation is at best speculative but warrants further investigation.

In conclusion it appears that female and male wild turkeys can use male fleshy

ornamentation to assess male condition and dominance status. Male characteristics that are important in other species, such as body mass or age, were not valid predictors of the outcome of male-male agonistic interactions in this study or were not included as a variable. Fleshy ornamentation appears to be an indicator of male status because it is probably dependent on a condition- and dominance-dependent hormone, testosterone. Both males and females seem to take advantage of the information provided by snood length to increase their fitness.













CHAPTER 5
THE THERMOREGULATORY ROLE OF THE UNFEATHERED HEAD AND NECK IN MALE WILD TURKEYS

Introduction


Endotherms usually maintain body temperatures above environmental temperature at considerable energetic cost. An unexplained exception to the general endotherm pattern of having insulation against heat loss are birds that have brightly colored areas of unfeathered skin on their heads and necks. Although the bright coloration of these structures is consistent with a sexually selected function, some studies have suggested that these areas of bare skin also maintain sublethal brain temperatures by dissipating heat via cephalo-cervical retes (Crowe & Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979; LaRochelle et al. 1982; Chapter 2). The heat dissipation hypothesis is supported by correlative studies showing that unfeathered head and neck skin is maximally exposed at high temperatures and that in some taxa the size of unfeathered areas is greater at low latitudes where heat dissipation may be of greater importance (Crowe 1979; Chapter 2). Highly vascularized fleshy ornamentation presents a functional puzzle when species are distributed over a large latitudinal range in which they are exposed to both temperature extremes. Although these species may benefit by using their FS to dissipate heat under hot conditions, the uninsulated nature of these structures subjects them to extreme heat loss under cold conditions and heat gain in the presence of solar radiation. In this study I test the possible thermoregulatory function of unfeathered head ornamentation in a species that commonly faces extremes of cold and heat, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
Wild turkeys occur over a broad range of temperature extremes from their southern limit in southern Mexico to their northern limits along the US-Canada border (Dickson


66





67

1992). Males are twice as large as females, and have brightly colored unfeathered skin on their heads and necks. In addition this skin is covered with polyp-like elaborations of the integument called caruncles. A thin dewlap extends from the mandible down to the neck. Perhaps most distinctive is the bare, distensible frontal process or snood that projects from the forehead at the base of the upper bill.

Fleshy head ornamentation in wild turkeys and other galliformes is often thought to be maintained by sexual selection, that is, it functions in mate choice and male-male competition. Ample empirical evidence supports this contention (Brodsky 1988; Boyce 1990; Hillgarth 1990; Ligon et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; Spurrier et al. 1991; Zuk et al. 1992; Chapters 3 & 4;). A role in sexual selection, however, does not rule out concurrent functions for these structures in thermoregulation. To understand why the unfeathered areas of turkeys are maintained despite the possible costs in terms of heat loss, the thermoregulatory tradeoffs faced by wild turkeys with feathered and unfeathered heads must be assessed. Because all extant wild turkeys have bare heads, in this study I experimentally insulate the heads and necks of turkeys, to assess the thermoregulatory tradeoffs that ancestral turkeys may have faced at cold and hot temperatures.

Methods

Subjects and Apparatuses

Eight, two-year old, male wild turkeys, obtained as chicks from a game farm (L&L Pheasantry, Hegins, PA, USA), were used in the metabolic trials. These birds were reared as described in Chapter 3. Gray and Price (1988) showed no difference in the metabolic rates of wild turkeys from game farm or free-living sources. Average body weight of these individuals was 7.1 kg (range 6.4-8.1 kg). During the study period (June-Sept 1993) the birds were provided with feed (Purina Gamebird Maintenance, 12% protein) and water ad libitum. Subjects were denied food for 26-29 hrs immediately prior to each metabolic trial





68

to insure that they were post-absorptive. Post-absorptive conditions are necessary to measure the basal or minimum rate of metabolism. Water was still available during the pretrial period.

Oxygen consumption and total water loss were measured in an open system (described by McNab 1988). The temperature of the 329 liter metabolic chamber was regulated by pumping water from a water bath through the chamber's hollow walls. Room air was sucked through the metabolic chamber, pumped into glass columns filled with soda lime (to remove CO2) and silica gel (to remove H20), after which flow rates, which averaged 20.6 1/min, were measured by a Brooks Sho-Rate flowmeter. Subsequently the airstream was sampled with an Applied Electrochemistry S-3A oxygen analyzer. The temperature and humidity of room air varied very little, 23.5 OC (0.0) and 61.2% (-0.2), respectively. Humidity in the chamber was not controlled. The bird's evaporative water loss was measured gravimetrically, that is, by weighing the silica gel. Core body temperature was measured by inserting a copper-constantan thermocouple, tipped with a thin layer of silicone, into the cloaca of the bird to a depth of 20 cm. This measurement was taken immediately before the subject was placed in the metabolic chamber and immediately after it was removed from the chamber. Six surface temperature measurements were taken: feather, leg, body skin, head skin, frontal caruncle and dewlap. Surface temperatures were measured with a bare-tipped thermocouple held against the appropriate spot while the subject was still in its holding box before the trial and again while it was still in the metabolic chamber at the end of a trial. Skin and feather surface temperature were measured approximately 3 cm ventral to the carpal joint of the wing. Leg temperature was measured immediately posterior to the third scale below the tarsal joint on the left or right leg, depending on which was accessible. Head skin temperature was measured on the back of the head at a point in line with the lower mandible. Surface temperature of the frontal caruncles and dewlap were measured at their approximate centers.





69

Different rates of physical activity across subjects and trials can make it difficult to detect the effect of experimental treatments on metabolic rate. Therefore I minimized the bird's activity by conducting trials at night in the dark. Metabolic trials lasting 2.5 hours were conducted between 20:00-03:00 hours. All subjects were given at least one day between trials. Individual turkeys were tested at the same time of day (either 20:00 or 0:00 hours) across all treatments to minimize circadian effects on matched comparisons of metabolic rate. The first 30 min of each trial served as an equilibration period during which the bird calmed down after handling. The least observed rate of oxygen consumption (corrected to standard pressure and temperature) measured during each of the four subsequent 30 min periods was used to calculate an average metabolic rate for the entire trial. All individuals were given two 2.5 hr habituation trials prior to the experimental trials. Usually the subjects rested quietly during the experimental trials. Behaviorial states were recorded by instaneous sampling (Martin & Bateson 1986) every 30 min. Three states were noted as present or absent: standing, head tucked under feathers, panting. Observations were made with the aid of a flashlight through a small window in the chamber.

Experimental Design

To determine the potential thermoregulatory impact that head feathering would have on wild turkeys, their thermal balance was ascertained when their heads were "bare" (see below) and when they were insulated as though they were feathered. To approximate the insulatory properties of head and neck feathering, the bare head and neck of the turkey were covered with a double layer (0.6 cm on head, 0.9 cm on neck) of acrylic sock (Adler@ "Casual Acrylic Crew," 75% Hi-Bulk Acrylic/25% Stretch Nylon) with large holes for the eyes and the entire bill. Any irritational effects of the insulatory head covering on metabolic rate were controlled by placing a hood made of thin, nylon netting with little insulatory value on the heads of the "bare" individuals. The control head net and insulatory head socking were held in place with small alligator clips that attached to the back and chest feathers at the





70

base of the neck. The efficacy of using head socking to approximate the insulation provided by normal feathering was determined by studying the warming curves of the feathered and unfeathered/reinsulated heads of domestic roosters (G.alus gall s.

Six dependent thermoregulatory variables may be affected by head insulation. Metabolic rate, as measured by oxygen consumption (cm3 02/g*hr), is a measure of the work the animal does to maintain thermeostasis. Rate of evaporative water loss (g/hr) is a measure of the heat lost via evaporation. Metabolic heat production (Hm) and evaporative heat loss (He) can be converted to common units (mW/g) to compare the cooling capacity of the animal in different treatments. Cooling capacity is the ability of the animal to dissipate metabolically produced heat by evaporation. It is expressed as a percentage, calculated as the heat lost by evaporation divided by the heat produced by metabolism (100% x He/Hm; Calder & King 1974). Total thermal conductance (mW/cm2 oC) measures all the heat lost by the animal, including evaporative heat loss, and is the inverse of insulation. It is estimated using the values for heat production, and ambient and body temperatures. Dry thermal conductance on the other hand is a measure of all nonevaporative means of heat loss: radiation, convection and conduction. If total conductance is exceeded by heat production, heat is stored in the tissues of the animal and body temperature rises. Each of these variables may be varied by the animal to cope with increased head and neck insulation.

Thermoregulatory trials were conducted twice for each turkey at each of three

ambient temperatures (0, 22, 35 OC); one time as a control, the other with its head insulated. These temperatures were chosen to be below, within and above, respectively, the zone of thermal neutrality (Gray & Price 1988). The temperatures are also within the range that turkeys experience in the wild. A total of 48 trials were conducted. This matched design compares the metabolic values of each turkey in the experimental treatment to the values obtained from the same bird in the control treatment. This serves to minimize the effects of inter-individual variation on the effect of the experimental treatment. Due to scheduling





71


conflicts in the laboratory, every turkey was tested at 0 OC before it was exposed to the other temperatures. The presentation order of the trials at 22 and 35 oC was randomized. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to test the effects of body size (mean = 6.7 vs. 7.5 kg for small and large, respectively), chamber temperature and head insulation on oxygen consumption (cm3 02/g*hr), cooling capacity, total and dry thermal conductances (mW/cm2 oC) and changes in body and surface temperatures (oC). The effect of each 30 min sampling period was also included when oxygen consumption was the dependent variable. Treatment groups exhibited similar variances (Fmax tests, all p>0.05; Sokal & Rohlf 1981). Reported p values have been adjusted using Greenhouse-Geisser epsilon values. This technique conservatively compensates for the use of repeated measures by adjusting the degrees of freedom (Abacus Concepts Inc. 1989).


Results


The mass specific rate of oxygen consumption was significantly lower for large

individuals across all temperatures (mean= 0.4140 0.007 vs. 0.4730 0.013 cm3 02/g*hr; Table 5-1). Rate of metabolism was not significantly different for uninsulated and insulated turkeys at 0 and 22 oC. However at 35 OC insulated turkeys exhibited a significantly higher average metabolic rate than uninsulated turkeys (Table 5-2, Figure 5-1). A significant, three-way interaction between head insulation, temperature and time period suggests that the effects of head insulation became more pronounced the longer the subject was exposed to the chamber conditions at hot temperatures.

When the cooling capacities of uninsulated and insulated turkeys were compared, uninsulated turkeys demonstrate a significantly greater ability than insulated turkeys to dissipate excess metabolic heat by evaporation at 35 OC, but not at cooler temperatures (Figure 5-2). Total thermal conductance increased with temperature. It was also greater for insulated birds overall (Table 5-1, Figure 5-3) but this difference was significant only at the





72

hottest temperature (Table 5-2). Dry thermal conductance decreased with increasing temperature in the uninsulated birds. Insulated birds showed a similar pattern of conductances at 0 and 22 OC but had significantly higher values than uninsulated birds at 35 oC.

Head insulation resulted in significantly greater core body temperature changes of birds at 35 oC, but not at the lower temperatures tested (Figure 5-4). Head insulation served to keep head skin warmer at 0 OC (31.2 1.0 OC uninsulated vs. 36.7 0.3 OC insulated), but did not result in significantly higher skin temperatures at 22 and 35 OC. Insulated turkeys at 22 OC increased their dewlap temperatures significantly more than uninsulated birds (32.1 +0.7 OC uninsulated vs 35.2 0.3 OC insulated), but this was not true at 0 or 35 oC. Body skin, feather, frontal caruncle and leg temperatures all increased with increasing ambient temperatures, but were not affected by the insulation treatment (Table 51).
Across and within each temperature treatment, head insulation had no effect on the proportion of instantaneous observations in which the subjects were seen to be standing, panting, or had their head tucked in back feathers or under the wing (Mann-Whitney U tests, N=16, all p>>0.05). Panting only occurred at 35 OC. The frequency of panting was difficult to observe because the birds often held their necks forward and down so that the view from the small window was blocked by the bird's body. Therefore it is not possible to look for associations between panting frequency and thermal balance. Nevertheless upon opening the chamber at the end of the 35 OC trials, panting and an elongated snood (only visible in uninsulated trials) were observed in all individuals. Snood elongation did not occur at other temperatures.
Although the proportion of observations in which the subjects were standing was
not influenced by the insulation treatment, the frequency of this behavior did influence some of the dependent thermal variables. Frequency of standing was significantly





73


Table 5-1. Partial results of repeated measures ANOVAs showing statistically significant sources of variation in, and those with strong trends of influence on, the dependent measures of thermal balance listed.

Dependent Variable Source of Variance df F value Probability

Oxygen Size 1 5.96 0.050 Consumption Insulation*Temp 2 4.16 0.053 Insul*Temp*Time 4 4.15 0.043

Cooling Capacity Temperature 2 135.00 0.0001 Insulation*Temp 2 8.87 0.014
Thermal Insulation 1 7.19 0.037 Conductance (Total) Temperature 2 367.00 0.0001 Insulation*Temp 2 8.03 0.028 Thermal
Conductance (Dry) Insulation 1 5.30 0.061 Temperature 2 9.45 0.016 Insulation*Temp 2 7.96 0.027
Core Body Insulation 1 6.62 0.042 Temperature Temperature 2 22.10 0.002 Insulation*Temp 2 10.39 0.011

Leg Temperature Temperature 2 150.00 0.0001
Skin Temperature Temperature 2 3.70 0.086

Feather Temperature Insulation 1 4.43 0.083 Temperature 2 42.01 0.001
Head Skin Insulation 1 12.09 0.013 Temperature Temperature 2 16.28 0.001
Frontal Caruncle Temperature 2 6.39 0.013 Temperature
Dewlap Temperature Temperature 2 6.83 0.014 Insul*Temperature 2 7.79 0.009





74


Table 5-2. Mean values of dependent thermal variables in eight wild turkeys exposed to three ambient temperatures (OC) with their bare heads and necks uinsulated or insulated. Values presented for temperature measurements are mean changes in temperature (end of trial value minus beginning of trial value).

Means Means
(SE) (SE)
Dependent Variables UNINSULATED HEADS INSULATED HEADS 00 220 350 00 220 350

0.45c 0.41 0.43a 0.48c 0.40 0.50a Oxygen Consumption (0.02) (0.01) (0.02) (0.24) (0.01) (0.02)

24.68 76.83 119.69a 29.51 84.90 96.73a Cooling Capacity (3.31) (5.47) (7.33) (3.27) (3.33) (4.32)

Thermal Conductance (Total) 0.11 0.24 0.78a 0.12 0.23 0.92a (0.01) (0.01) (0.03) (0.01) (0.01) (0.06)

Thermal Conductance (Dry) 0.09 0.06 -0.15a 0.09 0.04 0.44a (0.10) (0.02) (0.05) (0.12) (0.01) (0.05)


Core Body Temperature -0.44 -0.44 0.36a -0.35 -0.45 1.49a (0.17) (0.12) (0.13) (0.15) (0.11) (0.37)

Leg Temperature -16.96 0.00 2.54 -19.15 -0.11 3.31 (1.53) (0.62) (0.48) (3.10) (0.69) (0.64)

Skin Temperature -2.39 -1.21 2.61 -2.71 -0.16 2.48 (1.80) (1.86) (1.34) (2.43) (1.21) (0.68)

Feather Temperature -8.99 1.15 5.45 -11.01 0.73 3.86 (1.67) (0.39) (0.73) (1.49) (0.63) (1.54)
Head Skin Temperature -3.03b -0.16 2.30 0.71b 1.11 2.96 (1.37) (0.45) (0.73) (0.33) (0.43) (0.42)
Frontal Caruncle -1.98 -0.71 1.46 -5.48 1.59 3.94 Temperature (1.05) (0.70) (0.63) (4.56) (0.80) (0.82)

-0.20 -1.94a 2.89 -0.87 2.53a 2.70 Dewlap Temperature (0.77) (1.06) (0.78) (0.56) (0.52) (1.18)


Statistically significant differences between values of uninsulated and insulated birds at the same temperature have the following probabilities: a <0.01; b 50.05; 0.09> c >0.05.





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0 C 22 C 35 C
0.8






0 0.6



*. *
gD 0 13 131
*0 0 031 31
QU 0000 E
0 U 0
o mmO
a 0.4
13 13 13.m~g m [ O3 N

0
0


0.2

Individual Turkeys



Figure 5-1. Oxygen consumption of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.





76







0 C 22 C 35 C
200 .




150 0




100 0 000
100 00 i*0a



0o 0 U U 0
50
EN iN E 0
0 0 0
0. *. ..
0000 U
5
0

Individual Turkeys


Figure 5-2. Cooling capacities of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated
(empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.





77







0 C 22 C 35 C
1.4 --

U
U 1.2


1.0 a



UU
0.8 00 00


0.6 0


0.4


E- 0.2 .im l

0


Individual Turkeys



Figure 5-3. Total thermal conductances of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.




78









0 C 22 C 35 C
4
U





2


'0 1 o 0 0 3 3

0 0 3 00
.5 o 0 o 0





-2

Individual Turkeys




Figure 5-4. Change in core body temperature of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.





79

correlated with higher head skin temperatures at 0 oC (both insulation treatments combined, rs= 0.54, p=0.05) and is associated with a tendency for lower rates of metabolic heat production (rs= -0.50, p=-0.07). At 22 and 35 oC, feather temperature inversely correlated with standing frequency (rs= -0.66, p--0.01 and rs= -0.52, p= 0.05, respectively).

Head tucking occurred in eight of 16 trials by six different individuals at 0 oC. Higher frequencies of head tucking were positively, though only nearly significantly, correlated with changes in feather and dewlap temperatures (rs= 0.49, p=0.08 and rs= 0.50, p-0.05, respectively), and negatively correlated with changes in skin temperature (rho=

-0.58, p=0.04), changes in core body temperature (rs= -0.54, p= 0.05), metabolic heat production (rs= -0.56, p= 0.05) and both total and dry conductance (rs= -0.56, p= 0.05 and rs= -0.66, p= 0.02, respectively).

Discussion

A dramatic cost of insulated heads and necks occurs in male wild turkeys at high

temperatures. Insulated males had higher metabolic rates and markedly increased core body temperatures. Associated with this were increased dry and evaporative thermal conductances over uninsulated males at the same temperature. However the much lower cooling capacities of insulated males reveals their relative inability to dissipate metabolic heat by evaporative heat loss. These results demonstrate that the unfeathered heads and necks of male wild turkeys, and possibly the fleshy structures on the head, contribute to heat dissipation at high ambient temperatures.

Contrary to expectations, under cold conditions head and neck insulation did not
significantly reduce thermal conductance or increase metabolic heat production. Under cold conditions free living wild turkeys often contract the skin at the back of their necks, effectively drawing the feathered skin at the base of the neck up and over much of the usually bare areas of the back of the neck (personal observation). The captive wild turkeys in this study exhibited similar behavior, possibly explaining the absence of a difference in





80

thermal conductance between uninsulated and insulated birds at 0 oC. Because winter starvation can be an important source of mortality for turkey populations in the northern part of their distribution (Healy 1992b), reducing heat loss from the head may enhance turkey survivorship. At night thermal conductance may be further decreased by tucking the head under the wing or back feathers. In this study four of the eight uninsulated individuals at 0 oC were seen to have their heads tucked during at least one of the observation periods. Three of these had lower metabolic rates than the remaining individuals, providing support for this explanation. LaRochelle et al. (1982) found a similar effect of head tucking in black vultures, which also have unfeathered heads. Additional studies of the effect of artificial and behavioral head insulation on heat production and loss in wild turkeys are needed at low temperatures.
Other birds have modified unfeathered areas to control heat loss. Ptarmigan
(Lagopus spp.), which live at high latitudes and altitudes where the difference between body temperature and ambient temperature can be large (e.g., > 60 0C), often have legs and feet that are feathered (Johnsgard 1983). Other species limit heat loss in cold conditions with vascular modifications. Gulls (Laridae) have counter-current heat exchange mechanisms that reduce heat loss from the feet under cold conditions (Baudinette et al. 1976). The wood stork (Mycteria americana) and turkey vulture (Cathartes aur) use their unfeathered legs to dump heat at hot temperatures and are able to enhance this mechanism of heat loss by defecating on their legs to promote evaporative heat loss (Kahl 1963; Hatch 1970). Ducks may utilize the large surface area of their bills to dissipate heat (Hagan & Heath 1980). The wild turkeys used in this study are the only species in which the value of unfeathered heads and necks for heat dissipation has been demonstrated experimentally.
Previous studies of the metabolism of the wild turkey have ignored the metabolism of wild turkeys at temperatures above 25 OC (Gray & Price 1988; Oberlag et al. 1990). The adaptive benefit of unfeathered heads demonstrated here suggests that peak effective temperatures during the reproductive season, especially in habitats without shade, may limit





81

wild turkey distribution or population density. These results are reinforced by early studies on the temperature requirements of domestic turkeys. High ambient temperature (approximately 30 oC) and exposure to direct sunlight may reduce male fertility by as much as 10% in Broad-Breasted Bronze turkeys, the domestic breed most similar in appearance to wild turkeys (Kosin & Mitchell 1955). Wilson and Woodard (1955) found that all domestic turkeys were subject to hyperthermia at ambient temperatures above 32 oC, but that this was particularly true of large males. In addition body temperature and water consumption by domestic turkeys were inversely correlated with the percent shade cover provided at ambient temperatures above 35 OC (Wilson et al. 1955; Wilson & Woodard 1955). Wild turkeys experienced heat stress at 35 OC in the lab in this study. All males responded to hot chamber temperatures by panting, dropping their wings, and extending their necks and snoods. One individual (no. 1) even became frantic at the very end of both high temperature trials and was removed immediately. Behavioral changes that occur in free-living wild males under hot conditions provide similar support.

Mature male turkeys in northern Florida seem to avoid bright sun and in the

summer are found standing in heavy shade with dewlap and neck bright red and extended while panting heavily (personal observation). Also it seems that males are more reluctant to flee under these conditions and can be approached more closely than when it is cooler. Males are faced with a thermoregulatory quandry under hot, sunny conditions. Resting quietly in the shade maintains sublethal body temperatures but does not allow feeding, fighting for access to mates, or displaying to females. These latter activities, however, are also functionally and adaptively necessary, but result in metabolic heat production and exposure to solar radiation. Field studies of the behavior of wild turkeys relative to environmental conditions, including radiative heat load and wind speed, are needed to understand how males tradeoff thermal needs with feeding and mating success. The results of this study suggest that the bare head and neck of male wild turkeys enables wild turkeys to manage these conflicting goals more successfully.













CHAPTER 6
GENERAL DISCUSSION


The unfeathered, ornamented head of male wild turkeys has dual adaptive functions: it indirectly increases mating success and directly increases heat dissipation at high temperatures. The FS of wild turkeys increases mating success in two ways. Male snood length, is strongly correlated with both female choice and male dominance. A negative correlation between snood length and number of coccidia oocysts found in the feces suggests that females use male snood length to detect which males are resistant to this debilitating parasite. Females that mate with parasite-resistant males may have increased fitness if the male's parasite resistance is heritable, because her offspring will be better able to withstand the deleterious effects of parasitism. Longer snooded males were dominant over shorter snooded ones and all males avoided interaction with longer snooded artificial males. Males may avoid fighting with longer snooded males because of the risks of combatting males that are likely to be in better overall condition.

In addition to these sexually selected functions for some aspects of the unfeathered head of wild turkeys, FS are used in thermoregulation. Turkeys whose head and ornamentation had been insulated as though covered with feathers were unable to dissipate heat at high temperatures. Although the thermoregulatory function of the uninsulated head was not experimentally attributed to any one part of the male's head ornamentation in this study, the distention of snoods by males at high temperatures suggest that this character may be used to dissipate heat.
The mystery of FS maintenance and evolution in wild turkeys and other galliforms was not fully explained by the study of sexual selection and thermoregulation described above. The head ornamentation of wild turkeys has several components, only one of which,

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83

the snood, seemed to be under directional sexual and natural selection. In particular the functions of the distinctive side and front caruncles remain unexplained. These characters showed considerable variation that could be used by females and other males to discriminate among males. Why are these characters maintained? Multiple year, mate choice studies have shown that the characters that females seem to be assessing can vary somewhat from year to year. It is possible that mate choice may still be an important explanation for these characters. Additional studies are needed to address variation in character assessment over the lifetime of both males and females in this species.

Side and frontal caruncles are highly vascularized structures that typically turn

bright red during display due to increased blood flow. My experimental treatment did not selectively insulate these structures, but the increased surface area provided by these characters could serve to increase the dissipation of excess body heat over that dissipated by the plain bare skin. Thus caruncles may play a role in heat dissipation during male courtship display. It may be possible to remove caruncles or restrict blood flow to them to study their use in heat dissipation. Experimental studies such as this, coupled with field observations of thermoregulatory behavior patterns can clarify the reason fleshy characters characters other than the snood are maintained.

The highly competitive nature of highly polygynous mating systems, such as the

wild turkey's, is thought to select for increased body size in males. However large body size poses a problem for animals in hot climates because their reduced surface area to volume ratio makes it more difficult for these species to dissipate heat to the environment. As described in the second chapter, fleshy structures are larger and more common in larger species. This suggests that the need for large fleshy structures in some species is caused by increased body size driven by intense sexual selection. Species living in cooler climates and small species in any climate should not experience the dilemma posed by hyperthermia, nor should species that have low metabolic rates. Studies of fleshy structures relative to body





84

size and environmental temperatures in other avian taxa are needed to test the validity of this hypothesis.

Studies of sexual selection rarely consider additional or alternative hypotheses for the function of ornamental characters. Sexual selection theory generally assumes that greater elaboration of sexually-selected traits carries with it decreased survival. The results presented in this dissertation suggest that sexual selection may not necessarily be at odds with natural selection. Instead sexual and natural selection may, in some cases, work in tandem. The costs of sexually-selected ornaments are assumed to be extreme. However attention to non-sexual hypotheses in addition to sexually-selected ones, may reveal that the apparent benefits of extravagant characters are multiple and far outweigh the costs. Heated debate between theoreticians on the evolutionary stability of different models of female choice for male characteristics, has narrowed consideration of other functions for so-called ornaments. My work suggests that a general skepticism of the ability of sexual selection to explain everything is warranted. "A good field worker is nobody's poodle" (Grafen 1987, p.221).














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Full Text
ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF FLESHY ORNAMENTATION IN
WILD TURKEYS AND RELATED BIRDS
By
RICHARD BUCHHOLZ
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1994

"That's the whole problem with science.
You've got a bunch of empiricists
trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder."
Calvin

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
My advisor, Jane Brockmann, has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping
me with this project I will always be grateful for her enthusiasm, advice, instruction,
guidance, constructive criticism and support Little did I know that an academicumwelt is
learned as well as innate, just like everything else.
This study would not have been possible without the help of the rest of my
committee. Ellis Greiner kindly taught me parasitology and allowed me to use his lab. He
has also been very tolerant of the strange questions we ask over on this side of Archer Rd.
Rich Kiltie has thought carefully about the theoretical underpinnings and techniques I have
used to study fleshy structures. He directed me at several crucial turning points and made
me realize the consequences of my assumptions (although I suspect he does not find
turkeys very aesthetically pleasing). Doug Levey has always encouraged and helped me by
considering even my wackiest ideas with tact He is also my secret source for everything
"birdy." Brian McNab taught me about physiological ecology and generously allowed me
to use his lab. Dave McDonald has served as a "ghost" committee member and a friend
during my entire graduate career.
Literally dozens of people helped catch, handle and process wild turkeys. I am
grateful for their help. This study would not have been possible without it. In particular I
would like to thank those who helped me several times, including Laurie Eberhardt, Ron
Clouse, Paula Cushing, and Monica Marquez. Farol Tomson and Frank Nordlie found a
place to keep the turkeys, the Department of Zoology paid the costs of maintaining them,
and Chris Wilcox and her crew helped care for the turkeys when I was out of town. The
Florida Museum of Natural History, University Athletic Association and Frank Maturo

generously allowed me to use their facilities to house the turkeys. My dad, Eduard
Buchholz helped improve the turkey cages. Margaret Byrne and Gerry Ryan helped build
new cages.
My studies of free-living wild turkeys were done under permit from the Florida
Department of Natural Resources and Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission.
Permits were facilitated by Dan Pearson and David Cobb. I thank them and the staffs at
Paynes Prairie State Preserve and Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, particularly
Jim Weimer and Jack Gillen. The National Wild Turkey Federation provided wild turkey
transport boxes free of charge.
Several pilot studies did not pan out in the long run. Nevertheless I would like to
thank those who assisted me in these preliminary efforts. John Eisenberg kindly provided
permission to conduct preliminary research at the Katharine Ordway Preserve. Peter and
Denise Buchholz figured out how to catch jungle fowl on Kauai. Steve Nesbitt taught me
all about sandhill cranes, shared his data and let me tag along on crane capturing trips.
Marilyn Spaulding, Don Forrester and Sam Telford helped with my earliest attempts at
parasitology. I hope they will continue to encourage students as they did me.
At times graduate school is a very frustrating and unrewarding place. I must thank
the family and friends who have supported, laughed and commiserated with me over the
years and made it better. All have been instrumental in keeping me (somewhat) sane and
(usually) happy. Nothing would have been possible without the love and generosity of my
parents, Eduard and Elisabeth Buchholz. I hope someday they understand why I had to do
this. Gratitude goes to their son Peter, who reaffirmed our brotherhood despite having
chosen a different path. Thanks go to Marianne von Osten and Susan Edelbach, my "aunt"
and "sister," for always welcoming me home. Special thanks go to fellow cohort member,
peer advisor and buddy Laurie Eberhardt. I will miss her (boo!) and Peter. Carlita
Restrepo is a kindred spirit. I thank the expatriates, Tes Toop and John Donald, for being
funny, stabilizing and never dull. They tell me that in Australia Occam's razor is used to cut
IV

Gordian knots. Monica Marquez made sure I finished my NSF grant application and has
always been an encouraging friend. Margaret Byrne and Gerry Ryan have been kind to me
in many ways. I value my friendship with each of them and hope they figure out what they
are looking for. Rene Calarco and Barbara Crate helped me get here, helped keep me here,
and were always there. Maggie and Ted would not be happy about being mentioned in the
same sentence, but I cherished them both. John, Tom, Bubba and Jane taught me alot about
turkeys; may they rest in peace.
Last, but not least, I thank the office staffs: Carol "Sweet Cheeks" Binello, Alice
"Glamour Girl" McClaughry, Janet "Green Thumb" Zeigler, Lynda Everitt, Lori "Where
Are You Going?" Clark, Ruth Ann Czerenda, Evelyn Rockwell, Kenetha "I've Got my Eye
on You" Johnson, Tangelyn "You're Crazy" Mitchell and, of course, Grade "Babes" Kiltie.
Also thanks to Pete in the stockroom. They kept life in Bartram and Carr interesting and
smoothed over the red tape. Keep up the great job!
My research was funded by the Department of Zoology at the University of Florida,
a Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fund Grant in Ornithology from the American Museum of
Natural History, a grant-in-aid of research from Sigma Xi, the Animal Behavior Fund of the
University of Florida Foundation, the Cracid Breeding and Conservation Center, and a
Threadgill Dissertation Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the
University of Florida.
v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii
ABSTRACT viii
CHAPTERS
1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1
2 A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ADAPTIVE
SIGNIFICANCE OF FLESHY STRUCTURES IN THE
GALLIFORMES 5
Hypotheses and Predictions 7
Inter-individual Assessment 7
Immediate benefits 9
Good genes models 10
Fisher's runaway selection 13
Thermoregulation 13
Fleshy structures as heat sinks 14
Solar collector 14
Methods 15
Results 18
Inter-individual Assessment 18
Immediate benefits 18
Good genes models 18
Thermoregulation 22
Fleshy structures as heat sinks 22
Solar collector 22
Discussion 22
3 ADAPTIVE FEMALE CHOICE FOR MALE FLESHY
ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS 25
Introduction 25
Methods 30
Study Species 30
Mate Choice Experiments 31
Live male experiment 32
Male model experiment 37
Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males 39
Results 40
Live Males Experiment 40
Male Models Experiment 42
vi

Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males 43
Discussion 46
4 MALE DOMINANCE AND VARIATION IN FLESHY HEAD
ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS 51
Introduction 51
Methods 53
Live Males 54
Male Model Trials 56
Results 57
Live Male Trials 57
Male Model Trials 62
Discussion 62
5 THE THERMOREGULATORY ROLE OF THE UNFEATHERED
HEAD AND NECK IN MALE WILD TURKEYS 66
Introduction 66
Methods 67
Subjects and Apparatuses 67
Experimental Design 69
Results 71
Discussion 79
GENERAL DISCUSSION 82
LIST OF REFERENCES 85
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 94
vu

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF FLESHY ORNAMENTATION
IN WILD TURKEYS AND RELATED BIRDS
By
Richard Buchholz
August, 1994
Chairman: H. Jane Brockmann
Major Department: Zoology
Wattles and other types of unfeathered fleshy ornamentation in birds are puzzling to
evolutionary biologists because these structures increase the bird's susceptibility to blood
feeding insects and heat loss, without providing any obvious benefits. This study tests
sexual and nonsexual hypotheses for the evolution and maintenance of fleshy
ornamentation in galliform birds, particularly the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
A comparative study of the elaboration of fleshy structures in the avian order
Galliformes identified the evolutionary pressures under which fleshy structures may have
evolved. After controlling for the effects of body size and shared phylogeny, the lack of
clear cut associations between fleshy ornamentation and other types of ornaments suggests
that sexual selection has not played an important role in the evolution of these structures.
Strong negative correlations with latitude, on the other hand, are supportive of a
thermoregulatory role for these characters.
Sexual selection for the maintenance of fleshy ornamentation was tested in mate
choice and dominance trials using wild turkeys raised in captivity. If the wild turkey's
vm

fleshy structures are maintained by female choice, females are expected to mate non-
randomly with respect to these characters. Females chose males with greater snood lengths
and skullcap widths. Males with longer snoods were more likely to be dominant in dyadic
encounters. In complementary field studies in north central Florida, male snood length was
found to be a "good genes" indicator of coccidia infection and body condition. Thus the
turkey's snood appears to be maintained by female choice for males who signal their genetic
quality.
The extensive vascularization of fleshy ornamentation suggests that it may function
in thermoregulation. By insulating the unfeathered bare heads and necks of wild turkeys, I
tested whether the fleshy ornamentation of this species is important in heat dissipation.
Insulated turkeys increased their oxygen consumption and experienced higher body
temperatures relative to uninsulated controls. These results concur with those of the
comparative study and suggest avian fleshy structures function in heat dissipation as well as
sexual selection. Nonsexual hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in animals
are rarely proposed, but are necessary to understand the evolution of these costly characters.
IX

CHAPTER 1
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Brightly colored plumage, large branching antlers and delicately curved horns,
elaborate tails and courtship behaviors in animals seem inconsistent with our general notion
of the parsimony of nature. These characters are often called "extravangant" or
"ornamental" because they are particularly striking in appearance to human observers and
detailed studies of their function have not been conducted. They are ornamental in the sense
that they make the bearer physically more obvious without having any direct, functional
purpose, such as in catching food items or digging burrows. These extravagant characters
may increase the predation risks of animals that have them and likely have costs in terms of
the energy needed to grow and maintain them. Despite the potentially high costs of having
extravagant ornamentation, little is known of the benefits. However the dramatic physical
appearance of these structures, coupled with their development at reproductive maturity or
seasonally with breeding has led most authors to suggest that they have evolved via sexual
selection, that is that they have some function in increasing mating success. Thus the high
costs associated with ornamentation are assumed to be counterbalanced by increased
reproductive success. Assumptions about the adaptive benefit of "ornamental" structures
under sexual selection often make intuitive sense. Unfortunately additional hypotheses that
might explain how these traits evolved over time or how they are currently maintained are
rarely considered. The goal of my doctoral research is to propose and test both sexual and
nonsexual hypotheses for the evolution and maintenance of a subset of avian ornamentation
commonly called fleshy structures (FS).
1

2
Combs, ceres, wattles and similar fleshy structures are widespread in the class Aves,
but are particularly common in the order Galliformes (quails, pheasants, grouse, curassows,
guans, megapodes). Despite the frequency of these fleshy characters, there has never been a
thorough examination of their adaptive significance. First, I conduct a comparative analysis
of the morphological and ecological correlates of FS in the Galliformes to test four
alternative hypotheses for the evolution of these anomalous structures (Chapter 2). These
hypotheses fall into two functional groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: (1)
inter-individual assessment and (2) thermoregulation. After examining the interspecific
correlates of fleshy ornamentation in this avian order, I evaluate these hypotheses in a local
galliform, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). in subsequent chapters.
Male wild turkeys are perhaps the most ornamented birds in North America. They
have iridescent feathers, a hair-like beard projecting from their chest and most notably an
unfeathered, bright red, white and blue head and neck. On the head and neck are three types
of extravagant fleshy projections. Perhaps the most remarkable is the distensible frontal
process or snood hanging over the bird's bill. At the base of the neck are large fleshy
protuberances called frontal caruncles and on the side of the neck are small polyp-like
fleshy structures called side caruncles. During display these fleshy structures change
markedly; the snood distends and the caruncles are flushed with blood and become bright
red. The association of this change with courtship suggests that these fleshy structures
affect mating success.
Sexual selection is divided into two subsets: female choice and male-male
competition for access to females. If female choice is an important selective factor
maintaining male fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys, variability in male ornamentation
should affect male mating success (Chapter 3). Similarly if male-male competition is a
significant selective pressure, variability in fleshy ornamentation should affect the outcome
of male-male interactions (Chapter 4). Two general models of female choice for male
fleshy structures are tested: "good genes" and "arbitrary preferences." Both types predict

3
that females will exert directional selection for the more exaggerated form of male
ornamentation. Good genes models propose that the character in question is assessed by
females because it is an indicator of the heritable vigor of the bearer, but the arbitrary
preference model predicts no such association between ornament and male viability. To
investigate how wild turkey ornamentation may have evolved by female choice, the
assumptions and predictions of these models must be tested. First, do females mate
randomly with respect to male traits, and if not, which traits do they assess in prospective
mates? Second, are the characters assessed by females particularly good indicators of the
male's success in dealing with factors limiting the fitness of wild turkeys? One factor
limiting fitness of males is their ability to displace other males away from females during
the reproductive season.
Wild turkeys are a highly polygynous species in which males attempt to restrict the
access of other males to groups of females during the mating season. Thus agonistic
interactions and social dominance may be important determinants of reproductive success.
Females may prefer to mate with dominant males if components of dominance are heritable
and will be passed on to their offspring. Subordinate males should avoid dangerous battles
with dominant males if they have little chance of winning. Fleshy ornamentation may play a
role in mutual assessment before male battles, because these structures appear to be good
indicators of condition and testosterone levels in related galliform species. To see if this is
the case in wild turkeys, the value of fleshy ornamentation in indicating the outcome of
male-male combat is assessed. Then I ask whether males actually judge the ornamentation
of other males before interacting with them.
Female choice and male-male competition are not the only hypotheses that might
explain the maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys. Fleshy ornamentation is
highly vascularized and may be used in thermal balance, particularly at high temperatures.
The value of unfeathered ornamentation in dissipating heat at high temperatures and the cost

4
of an uninsulated head and neck at low temperatures is assessed by experimentally
reinsulating the heads and necks of wild turkeys as though they were feathered (Chapter 5).
Ornamental structures and elaborate courtship behavior patterns in animals have
long puzzled evolutionary biologists. Recent work on these characters, which are often
quite bizarre in appearance, suggests that these evolutionary puzzles are not always
attributable to sexual selection. Natural selection can mold the specific characteristics of
sexually selected characters to minimize their costs, and it can select for structures that share
characteristics with sexually selected traits, but that have very practical functions outside of
mate choice and male-male competition. The goal of this study is to understand the
evolution and maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in galliform birds.

CHAPTER 2
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ADAPTIVE SIGNIFICANCE OF "FLESHY"
STRUCTURES IN THE GALLIFORMES
Introduction
Combs, ceres, wattles, knobs, snoods and other fleshy structures are a virtually
unstudied evolutionary puzzle in avian biology. These areas of bare skin, often called
"fleshy" structures, are present in some members of at least 30% of bird families. In some
small families, fleshy structures are found in every species (e.g., Casuariidae, Fregatidae,
Callaeidae); in other larger families, fleshy structures are nearly fixed (e.g., Gruidae and
Cracidae) or widespread (e.g., Phasianidae and Meliphagidae). Fleshy structures appear to
be completely absent in only 11 of the 27 avian orders (Table 2-1). Oddly, despite the
frequency of these fleshy characters and their importance to avian taxonomy, there has never
been a thorough examination of their adaptive significance.
FS are generally assumed to be sexual ornamentation (e.g., Welty 1975) and recent
empirical studies provide strong support for both intersexual and intrasexual explanations
for the maintenance of these structures (Brodsky 1988; Boyce 1990; Hillgarth 1990; Lign
et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; 1992; Holder & Montgomerie 1993). Unfortunately
none of these investigations has addressed nonsexual functions for these structures. In
addition no studies have addressed the costs inherent to having exposed skin. FS are a
chink in the protective armor (feathers and scales) covering a bird's body surface. Exposing
bare skin to a world of temperature extremes, aggressive competitors and disease-carrying
insects would seem to be maladaptive. Have birds evolved these seemingly costly characters
solely in the context of increased mating success?
5

6
Table 2-1. Fleshy structures are found in 47 families in 11 orders in the Class Aves.
Struthioniformes
Struthionidae*
A Rheiformes
Rheidae
Casuariitformes
Casuariidae*
Dromaiidae*
A Apterygiformes
Apterygidae
A Tinamiformes
Tinamidae
A Sphenisciformes
Spheniscidae
A Gaviiformes
Gaviidae
A Podicipediformes
Podicipedidae
A Procellairiiformes
Diomedidae
Procellaridae
Hydrobatidae
Pelecanoididae
Pelecanif armes
Pbaethontidae
Pelecanidae*
Sulidae
Phalacrocoiracidae*
Anbingidae
Fregatidae*
Ciconiiformes
Ardeidae
Balaenicipitidae
Scopidae
Ciconiidae*
Threskiomithidae*
Phoenicopteridae*
Anseriformes
Anhimidae
Anatidae*
Falco niff rimes
Cathartidae*
Pandionidae
Accipitridae*
Sagittaridae*
Falconidae
Galliformes
Megapodiidae*
Craddae*
Phasianidae*
Opisthocomidae*
Gruiformes
Mesitornithidae
Tumiddae
Pedionomidae
Gruidae*
Aramidae
Psophiidae
Rallidae
Heliomithidae
Rhynocetdae
Eurypygidae
Cariamidae*
Otididae*
Charadriiformes
Jacanidae*
Rostratulidac
Dromadidae
Haematopodidae
Ibidorhychidae
Recurvirorostidae
Burhinidae
Glareolidae
Charadriidae
Scolopaddae*
Thinocoridae
Chionididae*
Stercorariidae
Laridae
Rynchopidae
Alcidae*
Columbiformes
Pteroclididae
Columbidae*
Psittaciformes
Psittaddae*
Loriidae*
Cacatuidae*
Cuculiformes
Musophagidae*
Cuculidae*
A Strigiformes
Tytonidae
Strigidae
A Caprimulgiformes
Steatomithidae
Podargidae
Nyctibiidae
Aegothelidae
Caprimulgidae
A Apodiformes
Apodidae
Hemiprocnidae
Trochilidae
Coliiformes
Coliidae*
A Trogoniformes
Trogonidae
Coraciiformes
Alcedinidae
Todidac
Momotidae
Meropidae
Coraciidae
Brachypteraciidae
Leptosomatidae
Upupidae
Phoeniculidae
Bucerotidae*
Piciformes
Galbulidae
Bucconidae
Capitonidae*
Indicatoridae
Ramphastidae*
Picidae*
Passeriformes
Eurylaimidae
Dendrocolaptdae
Fumariidae
Fonnicariidae*
Conopophagidae
Rhinocryptidae
Cotngidae*
Pipridae
Tyrannidae
Cbcynmcidae
Phytotomidae*
Pittidae
Xenicidae
Philepittidae*
Menuridae
Atrichomithidae
Alaudidae
Hirundinidae
Motarillidae
Campephagidae
Pycnonotidae
Irenidae
Laniidae
Vangidae
Bombycillidae
Dulidae
Cinclidae
Troglodytidae
Mimidae
Prunellidae
Muscicapidae*
Aegathalidae
Remizidae
Pandas
Sittidae
Certiidae
Rhabdomitbae
Climacteridae
Dicaeidae
Nectariniidae
Zosteropidae*
Melaphagidae*
Emberizidae
Parulidae
Drepanididae
Virenidas
Icteridae*
Fringillidae
Estrildidae
Ploceidae
Stumidae*
Oriolidae*
Dicruridae
Callaeidae
Grallinidae
Aratamidae
Cractridae
Ptilonorhynchidae
Paradisaeidae
Corvidae
Classification follows Morony et al. (1975). Field guides were examined to identify taxa with FS.
All species were not examined, thus additional taxa may possess FS. Families without annotation
lack fleshy structures; order contains at least one species with a fleshy structure; A no fleshy
structures present in representative species surveyed in each family of order; family contains at
least one species that possesses a fleshy structure.

7
Although it is ordinarily not possible to know the selective pressures under which any
trait evolved in the past, comparative analyses of the environmental, morphological and
ecological correlates of traits across species provide clues to the selective factors associated
with their evolution (Clutton-Brock & Harvey 1984). I conducted such an analysis to test
four alternative hypotheses for the evolution of FS in the Galliformes (quails, pheasants,
grouse, curassows, guans, megapodes). Galliformes are well suited for such a study
because their behavior, ecology and distributions are fairly well documented. They exhibit a
diversity of FS that are familiar to anyone who has seen a domestic chicken or turkey.
FS are not fleshy, that is, they contain very little muscle tissue. As used in common
parlance, however, "fleshy" accurately describes the soft or pliable nature of FS. Fleshy
structures (FS) vary greatly among taxa in size, shape, color and location and in their use
during display (Figure 2-1). Depending on the species, intraspecific variation in the color,
shape or presence of FS can be associated with sexual maturity (Hollett et al. 1984),
seasonal changes (Stokkan 1979), age (Buchholz 1991) and changes in motivation
(Johnsgard 1983; Franklin & Menkhorst 1988; Reichholf 1988). Consistent with the
extensive variation in the external morphology of FS is a wide range of hypotheses in the
literature on the adaptive functions of exposed skin in birds. These hypotheses generally
fall into two major, functional groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive; (1) inter
individual assessment and (2) thermoregulation. In the next section, I describe these
hypotheses and develop predictions for testing and distinguishing among them.
Hypotheses and Predictions
Inter-individual Assessment
The apparent association of FS with sexual maturity suggests that they are an important
form of sexual ornamentation. Several hypotheses suggest that sexual ornamentation
functions in inter-individual assessment (i.e. an individual evaluates the ornaments of

8
Figure 2-1. Diversity of fleshy structure size, shape and change during display in the
Galliformes. Unfeathered areas (FS) bordered by stippling, a) and b) bare orbit and eye
wattle of male Svrmaticus pheasant before and during display, respectively; c) bare orbit
and dewlap of Pipile guan; d) bare head, neck and collar wattle of brush turkey, Alectura: e)
bare orbit of male wood partridge, Rollulus: f) knob, cere and wattles of a male curassow,
Crax: g) eye combs of male black grouse, Tetrao during display; h) and i) cere and cere,
horns and throat lappet in male Tragopan before and during display, respectively.

9
another individual and this information determines whether or how they interact).
Traditionally, sexual selection theory has been divided into two subdisciplines: female
choice and male-male competition. FS, then, may be used for assessment both by females
and by other males. Females may assess a male's parental ability, his ability to provide
access to resources, his genetically based viability, or other features (Johnson & Mazluff
1990). Similarly, males may use the same or different characters to assess other males
prior to aggressive interactions (Borgia 1979; McKinney et al. 1990), or rarely, females. A
true test of these hypotheses requires standardized studies of the mate choice and
competitive behavior of each species. Instead I have assumed that if FS are subject to
assessment, they will co-occur with other characters that have been shown to be subject to
assessment in other species. All inter-individual assessment hypotheses assume that
females prefer males with the most exaggerated FS and that males will not fight as readily
with such males.
Immediate benefits
A male's epigamic traits may reveal direct benefits to the female such as his ability to
provide parental care, to feed the female during courtship, or his dominance over good
foraging areas. Female choice on these characters is favored because she and her offspring
benefit directly, rather than receiving indirect benefits from increased survivorship under the
good genes models discussed below (Kirkpatrick 1987). If FS have evolved to signal a
male's ability to provide immediate benefits, then the following predictions can be made.
(i) Reshy structures will be most common and largest in breeding systems where males
most commonly provide immediate benefits to the female and her young (i.e. in
monogamy).
(ii) Because males and females have similar variance in mating success in monogamous
systems (Payne 1984), making mutual assessment more likely, the sexes can be expected to
be more similar in FS size than in non-monogamous species.

10
Good genes models
If differences in general viability (e.g., health, dominance) are due to genotypic
differences, females may be able to choose these "good" genes for their offspring
(Andersson 1986; Heisler et al. 1987). Female choice for good genes may be especially
important in systems where the male provides no care or other resources for the female or
young. In this case traits that honestly advertise male condition will be chosen by females
(Kodric-Brown & Brown 1984). The following hypotheses address specific viability
correlates that females may use to assess males (and that other males may avoid in
combatants).
Parasite resistance. Hamilton and Zuk (1982) proposed that FS in birds are utilized in
the assessment of blood parasite burden in prospective mates. Avian blood parasites may
reduce fecundity (Korpimaki et al. 1993) or survivorship (Atkinson & van Riper 1991;
Bennett et al. 1993). At some stage in their life cycle, hematozoa lyse the blood or muscle
cell they occupy and release merozoites (asexual sister cells that subsequently infect other
blood cells or tissues) or gametocytes (which are picked up by insect vectors during blood
feeding). Red blood cell lysis or muscle impairment may result in anemia that is detectable
in the color or turgidity of highly vascularized FS.
The Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis can be expanded to include other parasites or parasitic
mechanisms that may affect the size or color of FS. For example, intestinal coccidia
infection is associated with reduced blood carotenoid levels (Ruff et al. 1974) and may
affect FS pigmentation. Lign et al. (1990) and Zuk et al. (1990b) found that infection with
the intestinal nematode Ascaridia reduced comb size in male junglefowl and that females
preferred males with larger combs (above a threshold size), and big combed males were
more successful in male-male contests. Hillgarth (1990) found a negative correlation
between coccidia burden and mating success in ringneck pheasants and showed that males
that extended their face wattles fully and for long periods had higher mating success
(although she does not mention a direct correlation between wattle size and parasite burden).

11
Ectoparasites may also affect ornamentation and mating success. Spurrier (1991) applied
pigment marks resembling hematomas caused by lice on the cervical air sacs of Sage
Grouse and found that females preferred the unblemished males. Unfortunately the only
measures of parasite prevalence available for most galliform species is of the blood
parasites, therefore I restrict my predictions to this group.
(i) Species with FS should be more susceptible to parasitic infection than non-FS
species (Hamilton & Zuk 1982; Read 1987). The unidirectional nature of this prediction
may seem counter intuitive. However, since female choice for resistant males may result in
higher mean resistance in the next generation, the co-evolutionary nature of host-parasite
interactions insures that over long periods of evolutionary time, the host will continue to be
susceptible to the parasite. This is a result of adaptations by the parasite that counter the
host's new defenses.
(ii) Fleshy structures should be larger, more sexually dimorphic and show greater
change during display in species with higher prevalences of hematozoa.
Plumage brightness. Female preference for brighter or more boldly plumaged males is
well documented in the avian literature (Burley et al. 1982; Zuk et al. 1992; Johnson et al.
1993; Hill 1994). Brighter males may have access to more or better quality food, be less
susceptible to parasites or be more dominant Alternatively females may merely prefer more
brightly colored males with no naturally selected advantage, sensu Fisher (Fisher 1958). In
any case, if females are choosing males based on their ornamentation, an association
between plumage brightness and FS presence and size might be expected.
(i) Species with FS should have brighter plumage than those lacking FS. Also FS size
should be larger in brighter species.
(ii) Species with FS should be more likely to have other types of ornamentation
associated with reproductive displays, such as crests and elaborated tails.

12
(iii) If sexual dimorphism in FS size can be attributed to the same selective pressure as
sexual dichromatism, namely female choice, then these types of dimorphism should be
positively correlated with one another.
Dominance interactions. If social dominance provides access to resources, females that
choose dominant males may give their offspring a genetic advantage (as well as direct
benefits in systems with paternal care or territoriality). If male-male competition selects for
the advertisement of male quality via FS ornamentation (Borgia 1979), females merely need
to select the male with the best FS. How might FS signal male dominance? Reshy
structure growth seems to be mediated by testosterone (references in Lign et al. 1990).
Testosterone has been linked with aggression in many animals and is related to dominance
in some birds (Wingfield et al. 1987). Therefore dominant males with high testosterone
levels may have the biggest FS. For example, in ptarmigans (Lagopus spp.) male comb size
is correlated with dominance (Moss et al. 1979), testosterone injections increase comb size
(Stokkan 1979), and males with bigger combs have higher mating success (Brodsky 1988).
Similar correlative relationships between FS size, testosterone and dominance status are
found in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus: references in Lign et al. 1990). Presumably,
intrasexual selection is a precondition for female choice for male dominance. If FS have
evolved for intrasexual signalling the following predictions can be made.
(i) Across species FS should be associated with systems in which male-male
competition is most acute (i.e. in polygyny).
(ii) Reshy structures should be positively associated with characteristics important to
male-male competition, such as sexual size dimorphism (Payne 1984) and the presence and
sexual dimorphism of weapons such as tarsal spurs (Lign et al. 1990).
Other good genes models. The inherent costs of FS in terms of heat loss and insect
damage would suggest that these structures may serve as handicaps (Zahavi 1975; Grafen
1990a; 1990b). Handicapping traits make it more difficult for males to survive and by
doing so reveal to females the males heritable vigor. Although such traits reduce average

13
male survivorship, all the offspring of males who survive despite the handicap inherit their
fathers' good genes and the sons inherit their fathers' attractive ornament as well.
Unfortunately the handicap model makes no comparative predictions about FS.
Fisher's runaway selection
This process, called arbitrary by some authors (Kodric-Brown 1993), has no
comparative predictions (Heisler et al. 1987; Buchholz 1992) because the selective agent is
random female preference, unrelated to naturally selected fitness advantages and could occur
under many environmental conditions.
Thermoregulation
The high vascularity and exposed nature of FS suggests that they may have some
function in thermoregulation (Lucas & Stettenheim 1972; Crowe & Crowe 1979; Whittow
1986). Intuitively it seems that FS should increase both the evaporative and non-evaporative
(radiation, convection, conduction) components of heat loss. In fact, birds lose a large
amount of body heat from unfeathered or lightly feathered surfaces such as the legs
(Baudinette et al. 1976) and head (Hill et al. 1980). This heat loss may be detrimental to
individuals living in environments much colder than their body temperature (Whittow 1986;
Gray & Price 1988). In species living in hot environments, however, heat loss from the
head may be essential to general homeostasis. Specific vascular adaptations may facilitate
heat loss to protect heat sensitive tissues. For example, a counter current heat exchange
system around the eye, the rete mirable opthalmica, is thought to keep the brain cooler
than the deep body temperature in some birds (Whittow 1986). Alternatively,
vascularization near the exterior of the animal may aid in the collection of solar heat when
the surrounding air temperature is low (Henneman 1988). Thus FS could function in
thermoregulation in two ways: (a) heat dissipation and (b) heat absorbtion.

14
Fleshy structures as heat sinks
Crowe's (Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979b; Withers et al. 1980) studies of
behavior and FS variation in the helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris) show that wattle
size in this species is positively correlated with maximum daily temperature across its broad
geographic range. Biotelemetric measurements of the brain temperature of captive subjects
show that these birds maximally exposed FS in warm ambient temperatures and reduced
total thermal conductance by retracting them in cold temperatures. If FS have evolved for
this purpose, these predictions follow.
(i) Fleshy structures should be more likely to occur and FS size should be larger in
species living at lower altitudes and latitudes. As species ranges get further from the
equator they have less need for dissipating heat
(ii) Similarly sexual dimorphism in FS size should be reduced in species living at lower
altitudes and latitudes. As species ranges approach the equator, it becomes equally
important for both sexes to lose excess body heat.
(in) Change in FS size during display should be more pronounced nearer the equator if
these structures are used to dissipate the excess body heat generated by energetically active
display.
Solar collector
To maintain body temperature during cool conditions, FS may be used to absorb heat
from the environment instead of increasing metabolic activity (Burtt 1986). The predictions
of this hypothesis are the reverse of those for the Heat Sink hypothesis above.
(i) Fleshy structure occurrence and size should be positively correlated with upper
latitudinal and altitudinal limits of species.
(ii) Because it should be equally important for both sexes to collect radiation in colder
areas, sexual dimorphism in FS should be negatively correlated with altitude and latitude
(iii) Because intraspecific studies show that FS size changes only during sexual
displays and not outside of this context, it is unlikely that size change is important to

collecting solar radiation. Therefore there should be no relationship between FS size
change and latitude or altitude.
Methods
Despite the extreme variation in shape and usage of FS, they share certain attributes and
can be divided into three broad categories: (1) sparsely feathered thin skin without
distinctive coloring (e.g., the lores of hawks); (2) thickened bare skin with or without
distinctive coloring (e.g., the orbital ring in some parrots); and (3) projections of thickened,
brightly colored skin (e.g., a chicken's comb). Lumping these three types of structures
under a single heading may be somewhat unnatural, since bird species may have very
different reasons for exposing their skin. However, so little is known about the
morphology, associations and functions of these variable structures that I think this
phenomenon warrants an initial investigation at a broader level. Therefore, to identify
patterns in the function of exposed skin, I initially lump these structures.
Using literature accounts I collected information on the presence, size, sexual
dimorphism and size change during display of FS, and on the upper, lower, and mid
altitudinal and latitudinal limits, body size and sexual dimorphism, mating system, presence
of spurs, blood parasite prevalence, and plumage showiness (or "brightness," sensu
Hamilton & Zuk 1982) and sexual dichromatism of 279 species of Galliformes in three
families (Cracidae, Megapodiidae, Phasianidae). Fleshy structures and plumage
characteristics were determined from plates and photos in monographs (Delacour &
Amadon 1973; Johnsgard 1983; 1986; 1988), a variety of field guides, individual accounts
and personal observations. The FS size of resting males was ranked on a scale of 0-5
relative to head size. The ranking of FS size relative to head size in all species prevents any
bias in the results where the FS in question may have been used to establish the underlying
taxonomy. Sexual dimorphism in FS size was ranked on a scale of 0-2. Fleshy structure
size change during display was ranked on a scale of 0-5. Plumage brightness was ranked

16
on a scale of 0-5. Sexual size dimorphism was calculated as the average male mass divided
by the average female mass. Mating system was ranked on a scale of 1-3 based on the
degree of polygyny thought to commonly occur in each species. The average number of
spurs on males of each species (Davison 1985) was included in the analysis as a measure of
male-male competition. Sexual dimorphism in spur number was measured as the female
value subtracted from the male value. Maximum and minimum altitudinal limits were
collected from species accounts and latitudinal limits were estimated from range maps.
Blood parasite prevalences (proportion of sampled individuals found to be infected) were
collected from regional surveys or reviews (Oosthuizen & Markus 1967; 1969; Greiner et
al. 1975, Ashford et al. 1976; Bennett & Herman 1976; Wink & Bennett 1976; McClure et
al. 1978; White et al. 1978; Peirce 1981).
Recently a number of new cladistic methods that control for the nonindependence of
data points due to shared phytogeny have been developed for comparative studies (Harvey
& Pagel 1991). Many of these assume a "true" phytogeny of the organisms under study.
Unfortunately the phytogeny of the Galliformes does not meet this condition because it is
in constant flux (Randi et al. 1991) and has had very few molecular studies at tower branch
points. The comparative technique I used controls for the effects of shared phytogeny by
averaging measurements within nested taxonomic subsets (i.e. averaging the species within
each genus, then genera within tribes) and examining the correlations of these averages at
each of these taxonomic levels. Pagel and Harvey (1988) have suggested conducting
statistical analyses of these data at the single taxonomic level that subsumes the most
variance. In the galliform data set analyzed here, most of the variance in FS characteristics
is found at the tribe or family level. The decision rule proposed by Pagel and Harvey has
drawbacks when comparative associations are studied within one avian order because
sample sizes are considerably reduced at higher taxonomic levels. Statistics cannot be
employed with only three values at the family level and tow sample sizes at the tribe level
carry with them a high risk of type II error; the inability to detect significant relationships

17
between variables when they exist. Therefore, I adopt a more exploratory approach and
present the associations found between variables at all three taxonomic levels considered:
species, genus and tribe. Correlational relationships found only at all lower taxonomic
levels (e.g., across species) may be artifacts of shared phylogeny rather than the products of
unique evolutionary events. Correlations at higher levels may not be significant because of
small sample size. However those correlations that retain statistical significance across all
taxonomic levels probably represent strong adaptive relationships.
The hypotheses presented for the evolution of FS were tested statistically in three ways.
First I compared taxa with FS to those lacking these structures. The occurrence of FS was
tested in a contingency table constructed from the number of taxa above and below the
median of the pertinent independent variable and the presence or absence of FS. Second the
factors associated with the elaboration of FS in species that had them were also tested in a
contingency table. Fleshy structure size and the independent variables were divided into two
groups at the median. Third the strength of association between three FS characteristics
(FS size, dimorphism and display change) and the independent variables were tested with
non-parametric correlation analysis (Spearman rank correlation). Sample sizes vary with
the availability of data for each variable. The data set lacked complete information for most
of the megapodes, and therefore these species are poorly represented by the results.
At the species level, FS size was strongly correlated with body mass. To remove
correlations between variables caused by their shared correlation with mass, residual values
generated by regressing each variable with body mass were used in all the analyses. This
approach assumes that the effect of natural or sexual selection on FS characteristics is direct
and not mediated by body size. It was not possible to test predictions relating to sexual size
dimorphism because this variable is calculated from a ratio with male mass as the
denominator. In the contingeny analyses of the occurrence of FS this resulted in about half
of the FS with a rank of one being included in the "FS absent" row. Finally, latitude and
altitude were positively correlated with one another and showed similar associations in most

18
tests, so for the sake of brevity results given only for latitude. Except where noted latitude
refers to the mid-point of the species' range.
Results
Inter-individual Assessment
Immediate benefits
FS were more common and more elaborate in non-monogamous mating systems.
However after the effects of body size were removed, there was no difference in the
occurrence or size of FS between monogamous and non-monogamous taxa (Table 2-2 and
2-3). Sexual dimorphism in FS size was significantly reduced in monogamous species.
Good genes models
Reshy structures were not more common or larger in more showy species. However,
sexual dimorphism in FS size was positively correlated with sexual dichromatism (Table 2-
3). Species with elaborate tails were more likely to have FS at the tribe level. Reshy
structures were not significantly more common in polygynously mating species, nor did FS
size increase with number of spurs or the degree of spur dimorphism. Although sexual
dimorphism in FS size at the species level was significantly greater in species with above
median spur dimorphism, this relationship did not persist at higher taxonomic levels. The
occurrence and elaboration of FS was positively correlated with sexual size dimorphism, but
this relationship is probably due the fact that more dimorphic species are also larger species.

19
Table 2-2. Occurrence of FS in galliforms relative to predictions of hypotheses for
the evolution of these structures.
Hypotheses and
Predictions
Species Level
X2 (N)
Genus Level
X2 (N)
Tribe Level
U' (N)
Immediate Benefits
FS more common in
monogamy
3.3+ (204)
0.0 (43)
-2.3* (8)
Parasite Resistance
FS more common in
taxa with high
prevalence
0.3 (52)
3.1+ (20)
-0.9 (8)
Plumaee Brightness
FS more common in
brightly colored taxa
2.4 (204)
3.2+ (43)
0.0 (8)
FS more common in
taxa with elaborate
tails
2.0 (204)
, 0.0 (43)
-2.3* (8)
FS more common in
taxa with elaborate
crests
0.0 (202)
2.3 (42)
-0.3 (8)
Dominance
Interactions
FS more common in
polygyny
3.3a+ (204)
0.0 (43)
-2.3a (8)
FS more common in
spurred taxa
2.8a+ (204)
0.1 (48)
-1.2 (8)
FS more common in
taxa sexually
dimorphic for spurs
5.6a (204)
0.3 (43)
-0.3 (8)
Heat-Sink
FS more common in
taxa with lower
minimum latitudal
limits
4.7* (196)
6.4* (48)
-2.3* (8)
Solar Collector
2.1 (196)
6.8** (48)
-1.7+ (9)
FS more common in
taxa with higher
maximum latitudal
limits
+ 0.09>P>0.05; 0.05>P>0.01; ** 0.01>P>0.001; a significant, but in opposite
direction; nearly significant, but in opposite direction. Probabilities are for two-tailed tests.

Table 2-3. Elaboration of fleshy structure size, sexual dimorphism or change in size during display
relative to predicted correlates.
Hypotheses and Predictions
species
rho
N
X2
genus
rho
N
X2
tribe
rho or z
N
Immediate Benefits
FS larger in monogamous taxa
-0.14
119
0.86
-0.24
40
1.60
-0.75+
7
SDFS less in monogamous taxa
0.43
108
21.80***
0.57***
38
8.50**
0.96*
7
Parasite Resistance
FS larger in susceptible taxa
-0.09
34
0.00
-0.07
21
0.40
0.04
7
Plumaee Brightness
FS size larger in brighter species
0.02
119
0.42
-0.05
40
0.00
0.00
7
SDFS greater in sexually
dichromatic taxa
0 70***
106
38.6***
0.60***
38
8.5**
0.93*
7
FS size larger in crested species

-
2.22


0.40
0.00
8
FS size larger in species with
ornamented tails

-
0.30


0.60
-2.31
8

Table 2-3-continued
Hypotheses and Predictions
Dominance Interactions
species
is
N
X2
genus
rs
N
X2
tribe
rs
N
FS larger in polygynous taxa
NS, see Immediate Benefits (IB)
NS, see IB
NS, see IB
FS size increases as the weaponry
of males increases
0.08
108
0.15
0.06
38
0.00
-0.21
7
FS size increases as the sexual
dimorphism in weaponry increases
0.11
108
0.75
0.03
38
0.23
-0.04
7
SDFS increases with sexual
dimorphism in weaponry
0.11
108
5.20*
0.03
38
0.23
0.05
8
Heat Sink
FS size negatively correlated with
latitude
-0.52***
119
24.00***
-0.60***
40
6.40*
-0.75+
7
SDFS increases with latitude
0.32**
108
3.40+
0.36*
38
1.70
0.86*
7
DCFS more extreme nearer the
equator
0.34a
99
6.00a
0.48a
33
3.60a+
0.48a+
6
Solar Collector
FS size positively correlated with
latitude
not supported, see Heat Sink (HS)
not supported, see HS
not supported, see HS
SDFS decreases with latitude
not supported, see HS
not supported, see HS
not supported, see HS
+ 0.09>P>0.05; 0.05>P>0.01; ** 0.01>P>0.001; ***0.001>P>0.0001; a significant, but in opposite direction.
a+ nearly significant, but in opposite direction. SDFS, sexual dimorphism in FS size; DCFS, display change in FS size.

22
Thermoregulation
Fleshy structures as heat sinks.
Reshy structure size was negatively correlated with latitude, and sexual dimorphism in
FS size was positively correlated with latitude; that is, FS got smaller and more sexually
dimorphic at higher latitudes (Tables 2-3). The degree of change in FS size during display
was predicted to be greatest nearest the equator; however, the opposite relationship was
obtained. Display change in FS size increased significantly with latitude.
Solar collector
Species with higher latitudinal limits were not more likely to have FS, nor did they have
smaller and more sexually dimorphic FS (Tables 2-2 and 2-3). In addition there was a
positive correlation between maximum latitude and FS size change during display at the
genus level. As the minimum latitudinal limits of a species increases, females become less
likely to have FS and males become more likely to reveal the full extent of their FS size
only during display.
Discussion
Despite the many intraspecific studies demonstrating the importance of FS to inter
individual assessment, a comparative analysis did not find much support for this hypothesis
as an explanation for the evolution of FS across galliform species. This result must be
interpreted with caution because the expected correlates of inter-individual assessment
processes (e.g., plumage brightness or spur number) are themselves only hypothesized
correlates of female choice and male-male competition based on intraspecific studies. A
true test of this hypothesis would necessitate standardized studies of the mate choice and
competitive behavior of each species. Instead I have assumed that if FS are subject to
assessment, they will co-occur with other characters that have been shown to be subject to
assessment in other species. The veracity of this assumption may depend on what is being
assessed (Sullivan 1994). Additionally it was not possible to include other characters that

23
may be correlated with female choice, such as intestinal parasite prevalences. Even though
FS size was not correlated with the other measures of ornamentation, sexual dimorphism in
FS size was positively correlated with plumage dimorphism. This finding suggests that the
factors controlling these variables are the same. Because plumage dimorphism is generally
attributed to female choice for male brightness, sexual dimorphism in FS size may also be
explained by this selective pressure.
FS characteristics were strongly associated with the latitudinal distributions of species,
even after controlling for body mass. Fleshy structures were more common, larger and
more similar between the sexes in species nearer the equator. These results are consistent
with a heat dissipation function for FS, in congruence with intraspecific studies (Crowe
1979; Crowe & Withers 1979; Withers & Crowe 1980). Alternatively the inverse
correlation between size and latitude might be the result of the increased thermoregulatory
costs of having bare skin in colder regions. The increase in display change at higher
latitudes is also consistent with a cold-limiting rather than a heat-dissipation explanation.
However if cold temperatures limit FS size across species, one might expect that FS
occurrence and elaboration would be most strongly correlated with the maximum latitudinal
limit rather than the minimum limit This is not the case, suggesting that FS actively
function in dissipating metabolic heat in species living in warm climates.
Studies of sexual selection often neglect to propose and test nonsexual hypotheses for
the maintenance of ornamentation in birds and other taxa. Balmford et al. (1993) have
suggested that an ignorance of aerodynamics has led evolutionary biologists to attribute
incorrectly all long bird tails to evolution by sexual selection. They argue that some types
of long tails are not burdensome nor aerodynamically costly and thus would not make good
indicators of male condition. Similarly characters that were assumed to be maintained
solely for social signalling, such as the bushy tails of ground squirrels (Bennett et al. 1984)
or the ultrasound emissions of some rodents (Thiessen 1979), or for quite mundane
purposes like feeding, such as the flattened bill of most ducks (Hagan & Heath 1980), may

24
also be maintained as a result of their thermoregulatory functions. Considering alternative
or congruent hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamental characters provides a better
understanding of how seemingly extravagant characters can be quite functional in a practical
sense. Unfortunately in the absence of an accurate, detailed phylogeny it is impossible to
determine if FS first evolved for heat dissipation or in sexual selection. Comparative studies
of the probable ancestral states of ornamentation and behavior have provided unique insight
into how sexually selected characters first come under assessment by females (Basolo
1990; Hill 1994). Similar studies of ornamental characters with both sexually selected and
naturally selected hypotheses in mind may provide a better understanding of how
extravagant characters can evolve despite their apparent costs.
Fleshy structures differ from other forms of ornamentation in many ways. They are
living integumentary outgrowths and thus have inherent costs that other nonliving forms of
ornamentation, such as big tails or long spurs, do not possess. Similarly the highly
vascularized nature of FS makes them more likely to be functional outside of the realm of
reproduction. Therefore, they are uniquely suited for identifying the conflicting forces of
sexual and natural selection that produce different suites of elaboration in separate
populations of the same or closely related species (Endler 1983; Kodric-Brown 1990). A
recognition among empiricists and theoreticians that ornamental structures may have
multiple beneficial functions, such as the apparent heat dissipation value of FS, the
thermoregulatory values of squirrel tails, ultrasonic emissions and duck bills, may advance
our understanding of the evolution of extravagant characters.

CHAPTER 3
ADAPTIVE FEMALE CHOICE FOR
MALE FLESHY STRUCTURES IN WILD TURKEYS
Introduction
The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a familiar example of a sexually dimorphic
species exhibiting an array of extravagant behavioral and morphological characters that
serve no obvious useful function other than to attract mates. Males weigh more than twice
as much as females and have iridescent feathers, a large fan-like tail, a long hair-like beard
projecting from their chest, tarsal spurs and an unfeathered head and neck. The unfeathered
neck is covered with pebble-like red bumps called side caruncles, that may fuse to form
horizontal bands of bumpy skin (Figure 3-1). At the base of the front of the neck are three
or four roughly elliptical pillow-like outgrowths called frontal caruncles. The skullcap on
the crown of the head has thickened skin that ranges in color from red to white and light
blue and appears to change depending on the motivational state of the animal. Perhaps most
striking is a distensible process at the base of the upper bill called the snood. Finally a thin
dewlap stretches from beneath the lower mandible down to the frontal caruncles. This
extravagantly ornamented bird is uniquely suited to testing models of female choice because
it is a highly polygynous species and males associate with females only for mating and
never provide care for their offspring.
Although we cannot be sure by which selective process any one of the turkey's
many ornaments has evolved during the history of this species, the evolutionary history of a
character can be inferred by examining the selective pressures maintaining such characters
in the present By testing the mating preferences of captive female wild turkeys and
25

26
Figure 3-1. Unfeathered head ornamentation of mature male wild turkey: a) skullcap; b)
relaxed snood; c) dewlap; d) frontal caruncles; e) side caruncles.

27
examining the correlates of the preferred types of ornamentation in wild males, I investigate
how female choice may be maintaining the extravagant ornamentation of male wild turkeys.
Hypotheses of indirect benefits of female choice fall into two types: good genes and
arbitrary preferences. Both types predict that females will exert directional selection for the
more exaggerated form of male ornamentation (i.e. they prefer bigger, brighter, louder, etc.
forms of the trait). Good genes models propose that the character in question is assessed
by females because it is an indicator of the heritable vigor of the bearer. Male vigor or
viability is a measure of a male's ability to survive acute or chronic factors that limit fitness.
There are two principal types of good genes hypotheses. The handicap model (Grafen
1990a; Zahavi 1975) proposes that ornamentation reduces average male survival enabling
females to assess any individual male's ability to survive despite his burdensome ornament.
In this case females that choose to mate with more highly ornamented males have higher
fitness because of the increased survivorship of their female offspring, who carry the male's
superior survival genes but do not express the sex-limited genes for handicapping
ornamentation. Male offspring who have genes for the attractive handicap experience
increased mating success in addition to increased survivorship. In the other type of good
genes models, females are assessing male ornamentation because it specifically indicates a
second, less visible trait determining male fitness. Hamilton and Zuk (1982) propose that
females assess the quality of male ornamentation because these characters are particularly
good indicators of the parasite burden of the bearer. In the parasite-assessment model,
females benefit from choosing the more ornamented males because their offspring will
inherit the male's ability to avoid deleterious infection. In similar models, the male's
foraging success (Kodric-Brown 1989) or age (Manning 1985; 1989) is honestly indicated
by his ornamentation.
Arbitrary preference models, on the other hand, hypothesize that the character
reveals nothing of the abilities or heritable vigor of the male but is nonetheless preferred by
females. Fisher's (1958) theory of runaway selection proposed that an initial female

28
preference for a male character that came about by natural selection or genetic drift could
become genetically linked to the male trait, resulting in elaboration of the trait beyond its
original utility. Similarly other authors (Kirkpatrick 1987; Enquist & Arak 1993) suggest
that specific attributes of male characters, such as color, shape or frequency, elaborate over
evolutionary time because they more effectively stimulate existing biases in the sensory
system of the female. In these models male offspring of females exercising an arbitrary
preference have greater reproductive success due to the character they inherit Because the
arbitrary preference model is empirically distinguishable only by the absence of a
correlation between the male character and measures of male viability, it proves difficult to
test The arbitrary preference model remains a default or null hypothesis in studies where a
female preference is detected but the adaptive reason for the preference is not explained by
the good genes model (Buchholz 1991). The only way to distinguish between the good
genes and arbitrary models of female choice, when it is not possible to monitor the next
generation, is by examining the relationship between variation in ornamentation and
variation in male viability.
Extensive research on the factors limiting population size in wild turkeys suggests
three major selective pressures: diseases and parasites, predation, and weather (Dickson
1992). Population surveys have detected over 100 species of viral, bacterial, fungal,
protozoal, metazoal and arthropod parasites that may limit the fitness of turkeys (Davidson
& Wentworth 1992). Although the impact of most of these parasites on their hosts is
unknown, experimental studies using domestic or captive wild turkeys have suggested that a
poxvirus (Forrester 1991), a proventricular nematode (Hon et al. 1975; 1978), and blood
parasites (Forrester et al. 1974; 1980; Atkinson et al. 1988) have the most severe impact on
host survival, particularly of juveniles. High levels of predation on nests and on nesting or
brooding females is well documented (Miller & Leopold 1992). Finally weather conditions
in the northern areas of the wild turkey's range affect survivorship and fecundity.
Populations subject to deep snow can suffer widespread starvation and mortality

29
approaching 60% (Healy 1992b). Food limitation during winter is probably not limited to
the northern areas of the wild turkey's distribution. A twenty-fold increase in visits to
artificial feeders during Jan-March suggests that winter food may be limited in Florida as
well (Powell 1965). How might females detect males that are superior in their abilities to
cope with these factors?
The handicap model predicts that females will prefer ornaments that reduce male
survival. These might be characters that make males more subject to predation, invite
challenge from competitors or increase the risk of starvation. To test the handicap principle
of ornamentation, experimental manipulation of the quality of male ornamentation of wild
individuals would be necessary. Because a test of the handicap model is beyond the scope
of this study, I do not discuss the predictions of this hypothesis further. However anecdotal
evidence addressing this hypothesis is presented in the discussion.
Since parasites are a ubiquitous problem for wild turkeys, the Hamilton and Zuk
(1982) theory of mate choice as an adaptation against parasitism seems a plausible
explanation for the maintenance of FS in this species. If turkey hens are using male
ornamentation to assess parasite burden, the intensity of infection by the most deleterious
parasites should be inversely correlated with the quality of male ornamentation that females
are using to choose a mate. To be favored by females, these ornaments should be better
indicators of parasite burden than other anatomical structures, such as bill or tarsus length.
Adult male wild turkeys begin their energetic courtship displays in early spring,
often while snow remains on the ground, relying on their fat reserves for sustenance
(Pelham & Dickson 1992). If the ability to access food and store energy for surviving
winter snow storms is an important determinant of survival as previous research suggests,
females may use the quality of a male's display as an indication of stored energy reserves.
If this is the case, female choice should rely heavily on the most energetic parts of the male
display and on any other characters that might be indicative of fat reserves, such as body
condition.

30
Age is perhaps the most honest indicator of good genes. Males that survive despite
parasites, predators, and food shortages have demonstrated their superior ability merely by
remaining alive. Thus females may choose mates based on ornamentation that reliably
reveals male age. Although beard length and body weight are positively correlated with age,
spur length is thought to be the best indicator of yearly age classes in eastern wild turkeys
(M. g. silvestris: Kelly 1975; Steffen et al. 1990). This suggests that females should choose
to mate with males with longer spurs.
The arbitrary preference models for the evolution of male ornamentation predict no
relationship between ornamentation and male survival or condition. If the characters chosen
by females are not related to any of the factors that limit turkey survival or fecundity, it
seems reasonable to conclude that they are maintained purely by the increased mating
success of the male without any direct increase in the reproductive success of the female. I
test these hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in wild turkeys with
experimental data collected from captive mate-choice trials and correlational data collected
from wild caught males.
Methods
Study Species
Day-old wild turkey poults were purchased in May 1991 from a gamefarm (L&L
Pheasantry, Hegins, PA, USA) whose large breeder flock continued to experience gene flow
from wild males (M- g- silvestris) until a decade ago. Poults were raised indoors under
heat lamps with gamebird starter feed (Purina Startena, 30% protein) and water provided M
libitum After eight weeks the birds were transferred to a large (5.3m x 5.3m x 2.6m)
outdoor pen at the Florida Museum of Natural History's Special Projects Laboratory.
After 14 weeks of age, males were maintained separately from the females in two
visually isolated groups of 16 in sand-floored aviaries (5.3m x 5.3m x 2.6m). Females
were moved to a cement-floored pen (5m x 12m x 4m) that was visually isolated from the

31
males. To minimize wastage only as much feed (Purina Grower or Maintenance, 19 or 12%
protein) as could be consumed in 3-4 hours was provided daily, varying seasonally.
Additionally a variety of green forage (e.g., cut grass, bamboo leaves, etc.) was provided
twice a week. Water was available ad lib.
Very limited displaying observed during pilot studies in early 1992 was attributed to
suppression by dominant males in the relatively crowded, group housing. To alleviate this
problem all males were housed individually in cylindrical wire cages (1.3 m in diameter and
lm high) at 15 months of age. Black plastic dividers prevented males from physically
interacting with males in neighboring pens, although they could see and hear other males in
pens 4 m away. Each male was fed approximately 0.51 of breeder rations (Pinina Layena,
20% protein) daily, along with occasional peanuts, wild bird seed, or carrot or apple slices.
Water was provided in 0.51 containers and was replaced daily.
Mate Choice Experiments
To investigate how wild turkey ornamentation may have evolved by female choice it
is necessary to test the assumptions and predictions of the good genes and arbitrary
preference models. First do females mate randomly with respect to male traits, and if not,
which traits do they assess in prospective mates? Second are the characters assessed by
females particularly good indicators of the male's success in dealing with factors limiting the
fitness of wild turkeys?
The mating preferences of female wild turkeys were tested in two experiments. In
the Live Male experiment, females were given a choice between two naturally displaying
males. The characteristics of males chosen by females were compared to the characteristics
of males not chosen by females to identify the characters correlated with female choice. The
Male Model experiment gave females a choice between two artificial males that differed
only in the amount of head ornamentation. The model experiment ensures that the character

32
thought to be assessed by females in the live male experiment is not merely the correlate of
another unmeasured character actually under assessment by females.
Live male experiment
Live males. Thirty-three, 20-month old males were exposed to an artificial
photoperiod of 14 hours for four weeks prior to and during the mate choice tests. Prior to
the mate choice trials, males were classified as "displayers" or "nondisplayers" based on
whether they strutted consistently during a half hour observation period on each day of the
week before the first trials. During the trials no "nondisplayers" became "displayers," but
the reverse was true. The 11 males classified as consistent displayers were used in the mate
choice trials. Seven ornamental characters were measured prior to the first trial. Relaxed
snood length was measured from the point of attachment at its base to the tip with a small
ruler. The snood was measured again after being stretched by attaching a clip to the tip of
the snood and pulling on the clip with a Pesla scale to a tension of 30 g. The maximum
vertical and horizontal diameter of each frontal caruncle, as well as its thickness, was
measured with a ruler. The radii of the frontal caruncles was converted to an approximation
of total caruncle area using the equation for the area of an ellipse (A=ab7t). The red, polyp
like projections on the neck called side caruncles were counted. The width of each half of
the thickened, whitish skullcap was measured by placing the ruler in a line from the most
posterior point at which the skullcap halves meet along the middle of the cranium to a point
dorsal to the middle of the eye. The beard was measured from where the "hairs" leave the
skin to its greatest length. Briefly, tarsal spur length was measured from where the spur
enters the scaled skin to the distal tip (Kelly 1975). Tarsus length was measured from the
articulation of the tarsometatarsus with the tibiotarsus to the third scute of the central
phalange of the foot Weight divided by tarsus length was used as an index of male body
condition and is referred to as such or merely as male condition.

33
Females. Twenty-three, 20-month old female wild turkeys were exposed to an
artificial photoperiod of 14 hours for four weeks prior to, and during, the mate choice tests
in January-March 1993.
Experimental design. The large cage used for housing the females was subdivided
into three sections to serve as a mate choice arena (Figure 3-2a). The female flock was
housed in one half of the aviary during the experiment Each female was admitted singly to
the choice area through a door in the opaque plastic barrier that prevented the untested
females from seeing the displays of the males or the choices made by subject females. An
additional opaque barrier prevented the males from directly interacting with one another.
The subject female was separated from the males by hardware cloth that had been painted
black to make it less visible. Each female was tested only once and was presented with a
unique pairing of males that was never presented to any other female. In total 11 males
were used 2-4 times each (mean= 3.3); there was not a significant correlation between the
number of times each male was presented and the frequency of female choice (Spearman
Rank Correlation, rs=0.51, P= 0.14). Males were assigned to the two display areas
randomty on the afternoon before the trial. Only one trial was conducted in any 24 hr
period from 14 Jan-12 March 1993, between 08:00-16:00 hrs. During the ten minute pre
trial period before the female was admitted, the frequency of spontaneous strutting by each
male and the degree of snood distention (on a scale of 0-4) were recorded. Snood
distention was recorded again immediately after the female was admitted and strutting
frequency was recorded until the female solicited one of the males. Females revealed their
choice of mate by "crouching" (Healy 1992a), a conspicuous mating solicitation posture
exhibited in front of the chosen male. The time spent by the female in front of each male
was also recorded until solicitation. Trials in which females did not solicit within 30 min
were excluded from analysis. The two males from a failed trial were tested again with a new
female the next day.

34
A
Holding Area
FEMALE
: Live Male 1
i Live Male 2
B
Male Model 1
Male Model 2
FEMALE
Figure 3-2. Mate choice arenas. A) Female is admitted from a holding
area to the choice area where she has a choice of two displaying males; B)
A female is given the choice of soliciting one of two artificial males that
differ only in their snood length and side caruncle number. Screen divider
between males and female is represented by thin line.

35
Data analysis. The characters correlated with female mate choice were determined
by comparing the characteristics of the male solicited with those of the male not solicited in
each trial, Wilcoxon matched pairs signed-rank tests were used with characters that were
independent of other characters (Siegel, 1956). However some of the measurements of
male ornamentation covaried strongly with each other and with tarsus length (Table 3-1),
making it difficult to tease apart the relative contribution of these characters to mate choice.
Principal component factor analysis was used to isolate independent axes of variation in the
correlation matrix of the five most highly covarying characters (tarsus length, spur length,
skull cap width, stretched snood length and frontal caruncle area). Frontal caruncle area was
transformed by log (x) -5 when combined with linear measurements in the factor analysis.
Subsequently these axes were transformed (i.e. rotated) using the varimax solution to
generate four orthogonal axes on which the variables were loaded as uniquely as possible
(Table 3-2). These axes provided four sets of independent axis scores, each set composed
largely of only one character unlike the strongly covarying raw data, that could be used to
determine which of these five characters was most important to a female's choice of males.
For each trial the differences between the scores of the males presented to the female
were calculated by subtracting the score of the male not chosen from that of the male that
was chosen. If females chose males at random with respect to these characters, the
distribution of the differences between preferred and not preferred males would be expected
to have a mean of zero. A positive mean is expected if females are choosing males with the
larger or greater forms of these characters as hypothesized. Because females were used
only once, male pairings were unique in every trial and the difference between male
characters was used in the analyses. This means that each trial was independent despite the
fact that most males were used more than once. Data analysis utilized the "Spin" abilities of
SASjmp (SAS Institute Inc. 1989) and the general statistics of Statview (Abacus Concepts

Table 3-1. Correlation matrix of morphological variables and average strut rate of the 11 males used in the mate choice trials.
Variable
tarsus
mass spur
beard
snood r
snood s
side car
fc area
fc depth
skullcap
tarsus
1.00
mass
0.91
1.00
spur
-0.66
-0.55 1.00
beard
0.18
0.32 -0.13
1.00
snood-r
0.65
0.54 -0.47
-0.46
1.00
snood-s
0.32
0.22 -0.45
-0.48
0.83
1.00
side car
-0.03
0.01 0.03
-0.05
0.15
0.10
1.00
fc area
0.45
0.45 -0.50
0.22
0.34
0.17
0.11
1.00
fc depth
-0.03
-0.05 -0.28
0.06
0.12
0.43
0.10
0.56
1.00
skullcap
-0.04
0.12 -0.09
-0.13
0.45
0.62
0.20
0.12
0.33
1.00
strut rate
-0.16
0.07 -0.07
-0.42
0.29
0.47
0.18
-0.12
0.09
0.51
Snood-r is relaxed snood length, snood-s is stretched snood length, side car. is side caruncle number, fc area is frontal caruncle area, fc
depth is frontal caruncle depth, strut rate is average pre-trial strut rate.

37
Inc. 1986). Where appropriate, mean values in the results are followed by the standard
error of those measurements.
Male model experiment
Male models. Each female was admitted singly to an arena (Figure 3-2b) in which
she had a choice of interacting with either of two artificial males modified from plastic
hunting decoys of hens. These models were altered in the following ways to make them
appear like strutting males. The heads of the two decoys were painted simultaneously with
alternating brush strokes of enamel paint so that they resembled one another as closely as
possible. The skullcap was painted a light blue, the orbital area a dark blue, the dewlap and
throat were painted red, the sides and back of the neck were painted pink with narrow red
rings applied around the circumference. Natural beards were removed from two domestic
turkey gobblers. Each beard was divided in two, with equal numbers of "hairs," and then
these were trimmed to 17 cm in length and applied to the models.
The decoys have a closed tail, typical of a resting bird. However strutting males
have a fanned tail. Two artificial fans were constructed from colored poster board, glue and
black permanent marker. The vertical diameter of the tail was 33 cm and the horizontal
radius was 69 cm. The fanned tails were positioned just behind the wing tips of the decoys
and held in place from behind with two thin wooden dowels that were stuck in the ground to
stabilize the tail. The models themselves were mounted on a wooden dowel so that their
backs were at a height of 0.65 m. Strutting turkeys drag the primary feathers of their wings
on the ground, but I made no attempt to simulate this posture; the models had their wings in
the normal resting position on their sides.
To provide the sound of strutting, a recording of a single strut from a commercially
available video (Griffen Productions 1990) was played back alternately between the males
so that each male model "strutted" four times per minute. One small 5 watt speaker was
placed to the side and behind each male and aimed towards the area immediately in front of
the male. Using the individual volume controls on the speakers and a Tandy sound meter, I

38
was able to ensure that the amplitude of the struts were equal (73 db) at a point 0.75 m
immediately in front of each male.
The male models were identical in coloration, tail size, beard length and display
frequency. To test whether the most variable types of fleshy head ornamentation seen in
live males affect mate choice, it was necessary to construct artificial snoods and caruncles
for the artificial males. Four snoods (two 4.0 cm long, two 6.6 cm long), 14 side caruncles
(1.2 cm x 1.9 cm x 1 cm) and four frontal caruncles (2 cm in diameter) were constructed
from latex caulking. The snoods were painted as above so that they were bluish pink, the
caruncles of both types were painted red. These were applied with small pieces of double
sided tape so that one male model was "more ornamented", i.e. given a long snood coupled
with 5 caruncles on each side of his neck, while the "less ornamented" male was given the
shorter snood and only two caruncles on each side of his neck. Both males had two frontal
caruncles placed side by side at the base of the front of their necks. Only snood length and
side caruncle number were varied because these characters were the most variable in wild-
caught males. One or more of the bodies, tails, beards, snoods or caruncles were exchanged
between the models after each trial and the position of the more ornamented male was
randomized. Thus female preference could be attributed to the only consistent difference
between the males: snood length and side caruncle number.
Females. Twenty-three 17-month old female wild turkeys were implanted with a 21
day-release pellet of 25 mg of estradiol (Innovative Research of America, Toledo, OH,
USA) on 3 Dec. 1992. After 10 days, when most females were exhibiting sexual behavior,
mate choice trials were conducted.
Experimental design. Male model trials were conducted between 08:00-16:00 h
from 13 Dec-15 Dec 1992. The playback of the strut recording was started before each
female was admitted singly to the arena via a remotely opened door. Starting the moment
the female stepped into the middle of the arena from the waiting area, I recorded the amount

39
of time she spent in each model's half of the arena. A trial ended when the female solicited
or after 20 min had passed. Each female was tested only once.
Data analysis. If females chose mates at random with respect to male snood length
and caruncle number, an equal number of more ornamented and less ornamented males
should be solicited. However if females prefer males with the more elaborate form of these
traits, the more ornamented male should be solicited significantly more often. A Binomial
test (Siegel 1956) was used to test the statistical significance of the results.
Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males
Free-living male wild turkeys were captured and measured to determine if male
ornamentation serves as a good indicator of male viability. Yearling male wild turkeys were
captured with bait drugged with alpha chloralose (Williams & Austin 1988) at Paynes
Prairie State Preserve in Alachua Co., Florida, USA between February and March of 1991
and 1992. Ornamentation was measured as described above for captive males, with the
exception of skullcap width, which was not measured. Drugged birds were kept indoors in
boxes specially designed for transporting wild turkeys until they had recovered sufficiently
for safe release (24-96 hr).
The number of attached ticks on the head and neck and on the undersides of both
wings were counted. In addition the lice on the feathers of the chest, back and rump were
counted by lifting and scanning the feathers of each region for two minutes. Blood smears
were made from each individual using blood collected with a heparinized capillary tube from
the alar vein. The smears were air dried, fixed in 100% methanol, and stained. Blood
parasite burden was measured as the number of blood cells infected with hematozoa seen
per 30 minutes of scanning under oil immersion at lOOx. Fecal samples were collected 3x a
day from the boxes of the recovering birds. One gram from each sample was mixed with
20 ml of a saturated NaN3 solution and filtered through cheese cloth into a centrifuge
tube. The tube was filled to the very top so that a coverslip placed on the tube opening

40
would remain adhered there during the subsequent 5 minutes of centrifugation at 1500 rpm.
During centrifugation most parasite "eggs" either float to the top and adhere to the coverslip
or sink to the bottom, depending on their specific gravity. After centrifugation the coverslip
was placed on a microscope slide and thoroughly scanned. Parasite eggs were identified
and counted directly or when present in very large numbers, estimated with the use of a
McMaster's slide. There are at least 6 species of eimerian coccidia that infect turkeys
(Davidson & Wentworth 1992). Unfortunately, these species are difficult to identify and
could only be categorized as having large or small oocysts in this study. The sediment of
each centrifuge tube was throughly examined for trematode and other eggs under a
dissecting microscope.
Additional measures of ornamentation and blood smears were collected from eight
hunter-killed wild turkeys at Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, Florida, in March
1990.
Results
Live Males Experiment
Eighteen of the 23 females tested signalled their choice of mates by soliciting
copulation from one of the two males presented in each trial. Traits of males solicited and
not solicited are compared in Table 3-3. Females strongly preferred males with
comparatively higher scores on the second rotated component, i.e. those with longer snoods
and wider skullcaps (unpaired t-test, one-tailed, v =17, mean=1.01, t=3.65, P=0.001). The
length of the male's snood during display, the character state actually visible for assessment
by females, was strongly correlated with the relaxed and stretched snood measurements
(rs=0.80, n=l 1, P=0.01; rs=0.75, n=l 1, P=0.02, respectively). The other variables that
loaded on the first, third and fourth axes: tarsus length, frontal caruncle area and spur length,
respectively, did not account for female choice of males (t-tests, one-tailed, P>0.05).
Characters analyzed individually, i.e. pre-trial strut rate, trial strut rate,

Table 3-3. Mean and standard errors for morphological and display measurements for males solicited by females and males not solicited.
Variables
Solicited
Not Solicited
Probability
tarsus
16.5 (0.1)
16.3 (0.1)
ns
spur length
2.1 (0.0)
2.2 (0.1)
ns
beard length
13.6 (1.5)
14.5 (1.6)
ns
relaxed snood
3.3 (0.2)
2.7 (0.1)
0.005
stretched snood
5.2 (0.2)
4.2 (0.3)
0.005
side caruncles
31.0 (3.4)
24.0 (3.6)
ns
front caruncle area
20.7 (1.6)
17.7 (1.0)
ns
front caruncle depth
1.3 (0.0)
1.2 (0.0)
ns
skullcap width
4.9 (0.2)
4.2 (0.2)
0.005
mass
19.8 (0.5)
18.4 (0.5)
ns
condition
1.2 (0.0)
1.1 (0.0)
0.05
first factor
-0.156 (0.23)
0.157 (0.22)
ns
second factor
0.524 (0.21)
-0.481 (0.20)
0.0005
third factor
-0.213 (0.23)
0.126 (0.23)
ns
fourth factor
-0.07 (0.18)
4.4x10-5 (0.26)
ns
displayed snood length
3.1 (0.2)
2.2 (0.2)
0.002
pretrial strut rate
3.4 (0.5)
3.0 (0.6)
ns
trial strut rate
0.2 (0.1)
0.4 (0.1)
ns
time with female
1.7 (0.7)
0.4 (0.2)
0.001
Note: One-tailed probabilities are listed as nonsignificant (ns) if P>0.05. Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used for direct
measurements and unpaired t-tests were used for the factor scores.

42
male condition, frontal caruncle depth, side caruncle number, and beard length, also did not
explain female mating preference (Wilcoxon signed rank tests, P0.05). In the live male
trials females spent significantly more time with the male that they solicited (1.7 0.72 min
for the chosen male vs. 0.42 0.17 min for the male not chosen; Mann-Whitney U-test,
ni=17, n2=17, U=74, U1=215, P=0.02). The mean time until solicitation was 2.1 0.85
min. Time until solicitation was not dependent on the similarity of the scores or measures
of any of the variables of the two males (Spearman rank correlation, P>0.05). The three
females who did not choose the male with the higher of the two scores for the second factor
seemed to mate more quickly on average than females who did (1.0+0.8 min vs. 2.31.Q
min).
Male Models Experiment
Of the 23 females tested in the male model trials, only nine solicited copulation from
the decoys. One female solicited immediately in the center of the entrance way of the arena
and thus her choice was ambiguous and this trial was excluded. Of the eight remaining
females, who clearly solicited on only one side of the arena, seven solicited before the more
ornamented model. This preference for the more ornamented model was statistically
significant (Binomial Test, one-tailed, P=0.035). Six of the eight females spent more time
with the model male that they subsequently solicited; however, this difference is not
statistically significant (Binomial Test, one-tailed, P=0.145). The two females who did not
spend more time with their preferred male also took much longer to choose (mean= 9 min
vs. 1.7 min, overall mean= 4 min). Three of the females that chose the more ornamented
model never spent any time on the side of the less ornamented decoy. The single female
that solicited the less ornamented decoy never visited the more ornamented model but
solicited in a typical amount of time (1.88 min).
Nine of the 14 nonsoliciting females were obviously distressed, as evidenced by
frequent alarm calling or frantic attempts to exit the arena, despite a training period. These
females showed no preference for either side of the arena (Binomial Test, two-tailed,

43
P=0.5). The remaining five females who neither solicited nor alarm called engaged in
nonsexual behaviors such as dust-bathing or preening. They also showed no preference for
either half of the arena (Binomial Test, two-tailed, P=l).
Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males
Nine yearling male wild turkeys were captured, measured and screened for parasites
(Table 3-4). All males sampled for these ectoparasites (7 of 9) had attached ticks
(Argasidae and Ixodidae). Ticks were most common on bare areas along the alar vein under
the wing, but also occurred on the back of the head. The total tick burden was not
significantly correlated with any measure of male ornamentation or body size (all P >0.05).
The number of ticks attached on the head, however, was positively correlated with the
relaxed length of the snood (rs= 0.7, n= 9, P=0.05). Lice were most common on the rump
(only one of seven males had no rump lice) but were not correlated with male ornamentation
(all P> 0.05). Half of the eight males sampled for back lice were infected. Numbers of lice
on the back were significantly negatively correlated with the number of side caruncles on
males (rs=-0.66, n=8, P=0.03) and showed a similar trend with the length of the tarsal spurs
(rs=-0.53, n=8, P=0.07). Total lice numbers were not correlated with any measure of male
ornamentation, size or condition (all P0.05).
One to five fecal samples were collected from each bird (mean=3.40.6). Fecal
analysis revealed two parasites to be common: a protozoan coccidia (Eimeria spp.) and a
cecal nematode (Trichostrongvlus tenuis). Eggs from an unidentified cestode were also
detected in one fecal sample flotation. Sediments from the fecal samples appeared
completely free of parasite eggs.
All nine males had infections with the large coccidia and eight of nine were infected
with small coccidia. Eimeria burdens were not negatively correlated with tarsus length, mass
or condition (all P 0.05). However coccidia burden was negatively correlated with some
measures of male ornamentation. Average burdens of the large eimerian were

44
Table 3-4. Parasite loads of one-year-old, wild caught, male wild turkeys.
Parasite
% Occurrence (N)
Mean Load (SE)
ticks
head
100 (9)
8.4 (3.8)
wing
100 (9)
17.3 (3.5)
total
100 (9)
25.8 (5.9)
lice
back
50 (8)
2.0 (1.0)
rump
86 (7)
6.8 (2.3)
total
100 (7)
7.0 (2.8)
Eimeria oocvts
large
100 (9)
342.2 (190)
small
89 (9)
2276.2 (2042)
total
100 (9)
2618.4 (2214)
Trichostronsvlus eggs
total
56 (9)
22.3 (14.81)
Blood Parasites
Haemoproteus
86 (7)
7.3 (2.5)
Leucocytozoon
14 (7)
0.1 (0.1)
Plasmodium
43 (7)
0.6 (0.3)

45
significantly negatively correlated with the relaxed snood length of males (rs=-0.78, n=9,
P=0.03). Average burdens of the small eimerians showed a similar, though nonsignificant,
negative trend with relaxed snood length (rs=-0.63, n=9, P=0.07). The overall average
coccidia burden showed a very strong significantly negative correlation with relaxed snood
length (rs=-0.84, n=9, P=0.02).
Individuals with extremely high burdens of coccidia in one sample (e.g., tens of
thousands) never had samples with very low numbers of oocysts. Individuals with lower
burdens (e.g., hundreds of oocysts) generally had at least one sample in which no or few
oocysts were detected. It appears that heavily infected animals are subject to a more chronic
and potentially more debilitating release of oocysts from the gut than are animals with lower
infections, perhaps because more species of coccidia are causing the infection. If this is the
case, perhaps the minimum sample is a better indicator of susceptibility. Relaxed snood
length was not more strongly correlated with the lowest (or highest) burden sampled than
with the average total burden, although these measures were significantly or nearly
significantly negatively correlated with relaxed snood length (rs= -0.55 to -0.82, n=9,0.02

0.09). Stretched snood length on the other hand was not significantly associated with
average coccidia burden but was significantly negatively correlated with the lowest
measurements of the large, small and total eimerian burdens (rs= -0.66, -0.70, -0.70,
respectively; n= 9, P< 0.05). Also there were nonsignificant negative trends in correlation
between large, small and total lowest coccidia burden per male and frontal caruncle area (all
rs= -0.63, n=9, P=0.06) and between lowest burdens of small coccidia and frontal caruncle
depth (rs=-0.74, n=8, P=0.06). The tendency of some ornaments to be correlated with the
minimum sample burden suggest that this may be a more sensitive measure of parasite
burden than average or maximum burdens.
The thread nematode (Trichostrongvlus tenuis) was present in five of the nine males
sampled. Average nematode egg burdens were not correlated with male ornamentation,
body size or condition.

46
Data from hunter-killed animals showed that relaxed (Mann-Whitney U test, U=0,
U!=16, ni=4, ri2=4, P=0.03) or stretched (Mann-Whimey U test, U=0, U1=12, ni=4, n2=4,
P=0.03) snood length could be used to distinguish between first year and older males.
Over the three year classes measured, relaxed snood length increased significantly (rho=
0.79, n=8, P= 0.04) but stretched length only showed a nonsignificant trend (rho= 0.71,
n=8, P= 0.09) with age. These correlations became nonsignificant when the effects of body
condition were removed by partial regression. However relaxed snood length remained
strongly correlated with male condition if the effects of age are removed (rho=0.56, n=13,
P=0.05).
Discussion
The results provide support for a parasite-driven explanation for the maintenance of
female choice for male ornamentation in wild turkeys (Hamilton & Zuk 1982). They do not
support the arbitrary preference model. Females preferred to mate with males that had
longer snoods and broader skullcaps; two tightly covarying male traits. Although skullcaps
were not measured on wild individuals, stretched and relaxed snood length were longest in
individuals with lower and less chronic burdens of coccidian oocysts. Surveys in the wild
have shown this parasite to be quite widespread; 46-100% of turkey poults are infected and
40% of droppings collected from adults contain oocysts (reviewed by Davidson &
Wentworth 1992). Perhaps because this parasite is often ignored during searches for
internal parasites (Ruff et al. 1988), coccidiosis is not commonly suspected to contribute to
the mortality of adult wild turkeys. However laboratory transmission of Eimeria from wild
individuals to domestic poults proves these parasites have the potential to be highly
pathogenic (Prestwood et al. 1973). Chronic effects of coccidiosis in domestic poultry
include delayed maturation due to decreased plasma testosterone levels (Ruff 1988),
decreased egg and sperm production and lower fertility (Bressler et al. 1951; Ruff et al.
1984; Ogbuokiri & Edgar 1986; Ruff & Wilkins 1987). If similar effects occur in wild

47
populations, and if resistance to coccidia in wild turkeys is heritable as it is in domestic
poultry (Johnson & Edgar 1982), females that choose mates that are resistant to Eimeria
would have greater fitness because their offspring are relieved of the deleterious effects of
these parasites. Thus female choice for male snood length appears to be a behavioral
adaptation against parasitism.
The beard, frontal caruncles and other aspects of male ornamentation were not
subject to female choice, despite the fact that there is some indication that they may also
indicate parasite burden. Why did females not discriminate among males by these
characters? There are three possible explanations. First and most obvious, is that the captive
turkeys of the eastern subspecies are not subject to the same selective pressures as the wild
osceola males sampled in Florida. Limited data suggest that parasite burdens may be lower
in the northern parts of the wild turkey's range (Sasseville et al. 1988) Second the apparent
trends between caruncle quality and other parasites may be the spurious result of using
multiple statistical tests. Larger sample sizes of wild males are needed to document the
reliability of these other ornaments as indicators of parasite burden to females. Last, studies
of female choice in other galliformes have shown year to year shifting in some of the male
characters that are assessed (e.g., Zuk et al. 1992), suggesting that frontal caruncles, which
appear to be inversely correlated with parasite burden, may be important in mate assessment
in other years.
Threadworms, Trichostrongylus. have a dramatic effect on the fitness of some other
galliforms, particularly grouse (Hudson & Dobson 1991), but infections in wild turkeys are
generally not severe enough to cause pathologies (Davidson & Wentworth 1992) and
therefore it was not surprising that these nematodes did not affect the degree of male
ornamentation. Similarly ectoparasite burdens were low and probably have a subtle,
cumulative effect on male condition not readily revealed by ornamentation (e.g., Booth et al.
1993).

48
Because harsh winters limit survivorship in wild turkeys, it was hypothesized that
females should try to assess male ability to survive such conditions. It was hypothesized
that turkey hens could assess male condition by the male's ability to perform energetically
costly displays. This hypothesis was not supported directly. Male condition and display
frequency during the mate choice trial did not explain variation in female choice. In fact
some females solicited so quickly that they would have had little opportunity to measure
male strut frequency. However the characters females assessed during mate choice, snood
length and skullcap width, were positively correlated with the male's average strut frequency
over all his trials (Table 2-1). In the well-fed captive turkeys neither average strut frequency,
relaxed or stretched snood lengths nor display snood length were correlated with male
condition. But after statistically removing any effects of age, the stretched snood length of
wild males was significantly positively correlated with male condition and age was no
longer correlated with snood length. Although male strut frequency was apparently not
assessed by females during the mate choice trials, females mated with males that strutted at a
higher rate and that were in better condition by choosing males with longer snoods and
wider skullcaps. Further field captures and experimental manipulations will be necessary to
determine if display rate is a specific indicator of the stored fat resources of the male.
Male age is perhaps the best indicator of a male's good genes. Older males are
probably not a random sample in terms of natural selection; they have survived multiple
challenges over time, including parasitism, starvation and predation. One hypothesis for the
maintenance of male ornamentation in wild turkeys is that these characters serve as
indicators of male age. In this study captive females did not choose among 2 year old males
based on previously documented age class indicators, such as spur length. This may be
because these cues provide no information when males are very similar, i.e. within one age
class. Unfortunately previous studies of correlates of wild turkey age have ignored the head
ornamentation of males (Kelly 1975; Steffen et al. 1990). Results from a limited sample of
wild males covering three age classes shows that the characters females are assessing in

49
mate choice are not good indicators of male age because age covaries with body condition.
A larger sample size is needed to tease apart these two variables. For example, more field
data are needed to determine if the snood lengths of heavily parasitized, older males are
shorter than lightly parasitized, younger males. In any case snood length within one age
class appears to be a reliable cue to the body condition of the bearer as well as to the
coccidia burden among males.
The handicap model for the maintenance of male ornamentation proposes that
females assess a male's ability to survive despite his burdensome ornaments. Field
experiments that record the reproductive success and survivorship of manipulated males are
necessary to test this hypothesis. Nevertheless anecdotal observations provide some
support for the handicap model. The conspicuous ornamentation and courtship displays of
male wild turkeys attract predators and are thought to increase their risk of predation (Miller
& Leopold 1992). The uninsulated bare head of males may also represent a
thermoregulatory handicap. Birds generally lose large quantities of heat from feathered
heads (Hill et al. 1980). Unfeathered heads such as the turkey's should lose even more heat
and may hasten male starvation during severe winter storms. Since there is no clear
advantage to having bare heads in winter, it seems reasonable to suggest that the bare heads
of male wild turkeys may have evolved as a handicap. Similarly other forms of male
ornamentation, such as the beard and fanned tail, might serve as handicaps.
This study suggests that the snood and skullcap of males are maintained by female
choice for males with low burdens of coccidia. Also these traits may be used by females to
choose older males as mates and perhaps males that have more body fat Snood length and
skullcap appear to be the only aspects of male ornamentation under direct selection by
females. The selective pressures maintaining the striking array of extravagant
ornamentation of wild turkeys is only partly explained. Males have strikingly colored
caruncles on their head and neck, a long beard projecting from their chest iridescent
feathers and a large fan-like tail that are apparently not subject to female choice, but may

50
instead play a role in male-male competition (Chapter 4) or be maintained because of its
other functions (Chapter 5).

CHAPTER 4
MALE DOMINANCE AND VARIATION IN
FLESHY HEAD ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS
Introduction
The mating system of wild turkeys has been classified as male-dominance polygyny
(Williams & Austin 1988). In the breeding season males vocalize ("gobble") to attract
flocks of receptive females and then follow and display to those hens throughout the day.
During this time other males may be attracted to the same females and battles between males
over mating access often result (Watts & Stokes 1971). Because males are unable to obtain
exclusive access to females by defending food or other resources that female turkeys need
(Emlen & Oring 1977; Hurst 1992), they control access to the females themselves. As a
result male wild turkeys engage in frequent, direct, agonistic interactions that determine
mating success (Watts & Stokes 1971). These agonistic interactions begin when the males
are juveniles and establish dominance heirarchies within their age cohort (Healy 1992a) and
continue as males encounter and fight with other males after dispersal from the natal
territory and in subsequent breeding seasons (Watts & Stokes 1971; Williams & Austin
1988; Healy 1992a).
The War Propaganda model (Fisher 1958; Borgia 1979) proposes that in mating
systems such as the wild turkey's, in which females gain no direct benefits from males and
males compete for access to females, male fighting success should be assessed by females
during mate choice. Females should do this because fighting ability is probably a good
measure of overall male condition. Another reason to mate with dominant males is that the
components of dominance may be heritable (Dewsbury 1990); therefore, a female that
mates with a dominant male may have higher fitness because of an increased likelihood that
51

52
her mature male offspring will be able to gain access to hens. But females are not the only
sex in which selection should favor the ability to recognize dominant males. To avoid
battles in which the risk of injury outweighs gains in lifetime fitness, males should assess
the condition of their competitors before fighting. Both the receiver and the signaller might
benefit from the transmission of information about male condition (Rohwer 1975; Rohwer
1977). Dominant males avoid the costs of continually battling weaker males for preferential
access to resources and subordinate males avoid the risk of serious injury from dominant
males who are likely to be healthier and stronger and win fights (M0ller 1987). Thus both
females and males should assess the dominance status of males.
Fleshy ornaments are associated with intrasexual competition in many galliform
species (Stokkan 1979; Brodsky 1988; Lign et al. 1990; Holder & Montgomerie 1993)
and are uniquely suited to signal male status honestly. These structures generally develop
only upon sexual maturity and their size in males is known to be testosterone dependent in
some species (Allee et al. 1939; Collias 1943; Stokkan 1979). Higher testosterone levels
are often associated with dominance and increased aggressiveness in birds (Wingfield et al.
1987), suggesting that fleshy ornamentation may correlate with a male's dominance status.
Dominant males might have relatively higher testosterone levels because they are in better
physical condition (Lign et al. 1990) or because they are able to suppress the testosterone
levels of subordinate males (Lisano & Kennamer 1977).
As demonstrated earlier (Chapter 3), the snood length of male wild turkeys is a
indicator of coccidia burden, condition and possibly age. This would suggest that males
could use this aspect of male ornamentation to assess the vigor of males they encounter and
thus consider the risks of combatting those males. If this is the case, males with longer
snoods would be expected to be dominant over less ornamented males, and that males with
similarly sized ornamentation should be in the most conflict over relative status. In this
study I test this hypothesis by comparing the ornamentation of males matched in dyadic
dominance trials. However males may establish dominance not because of ornamentation

53
itself, but because of strongly correlated attributes such as body weight Therefore I also
examine the response of captive males to the presentation of artificial males that differ only
in snood length and caruncle number.
Methods
A detailed description of the rearing of the wild turkeys used in these experiments,
including cage sizes is provided in the previous chapter (Chapter 3). Briefly, the wild
turkeys were obtained from a game farm as day-old chicks. At four months of age the
females were separated from the males and the males were divided into two, visually isolated
groups. Pilot observations during the spring 1992 breeding season showed that very few of
the males actively strutted when group housed. Therefore when the males were 15 months
old, six months before the 1994 season, the males were moved to individual pens separated
by opaque dividers. This had the effect of stimulating more males to perform the strut
display. Eleven of the 28 males displayed spontaneously and regularly in their individual
pens. These animals were designated "displayers" and were used in the mate choice trials
(described in Chapter 3) before being tested in the dominance trials. For the dominance
trials, conducted in Feb-April 1993, a male from one rearing flock was matched with a male
from the other flock. These males were chosen from their respective flocks at random
except that "displayers" were always matched with other displayers. An additional male
who displayed occassionally was used in the dyad with the odd numbered "displayer". The
pairing of males based on display frequency mimics the situation in the wild where
displayers usually fight one another and are avoided by nondisplaying individuals and
juveniles (personal observation). Each dyad of males was measured for ornamentation and
body size, as described previously (Chapter 3), on the day before the dominance trial.

54
Live Males
In the live male dominance trials, two males were admitted to a central arena (2.7m x
5.3 x 2.7m) from their respective holding pens (Figure 4-la). The males were familiarized
with the arena for several hours on the day prior to the trial and had spent part of their
rearing period in the pen as well. No food or mates were provided in the arena, although the
males often found something to peck at on the dirt floor of the pen. This situation
simulated a random meeting of unfamiliar males on common ground with no resource to
contest. Trials lasted 10 minutes and were videotaped so that the rapidly occurring
dominance interactions could be reviewed and transcribed later.
A heirarchy of criteria was used for designating one member of the dyad as
subordinate and the other dominant Most males actually fought with one another.
Fighting begins when one male approaches the other and begins giving "fighting purrs",
vocalizations that elicit combat (Healy 1992a). The other male typically responds with
fighting purrs until one of them slaps the other with a wing while simultaneously kicking
him. The birds continue to wing slap and kick one another until one of them suddenly turns
and attempts to flee. Fleeing males are generally pursued and sometimes pecked on the
head. If the males fought, the fleeing male was designated the subordinate. In some trials
one male fled immediately upon encountering the first male and as a result was designated
the subordinate. In one trial the males did not fight nor did one flee from the other. In this
case the male that was displaced while pecking at the ground was designated the
subordinate.
For each trial I recorded the number of wingflapping bouts given by each bird prior
to physical contact (pecking in the absence of fights, or wing slapping/kicking in birds that
fought) and latency to physical contact. A wingflapping bout consisted of the male standing
in place and flapping the wings two to five times. This action pattern is often used in
aggressive contexts in Galliformes (Kruijt 1964; Buchholz 1989). If the males fought I
recorded the identity of the male who began giving "fighting purrs", the frequency of

55
Uve.
Malel
>> Uve
Male 2
Model 1
Model 2
5
-if
¡
Is
Live
Male
Figure 4-1. Male dominance trial arenas. A) Randomly matched males
are admitted to a central arena from holding pens; B) A living male is
given the choice of feeding from in front of two artificial males of
different snood lengths and side caruncle numbers. Another male waits in
a holding area.

56
pecking and kicking by each male during combat, the duration of the fight and the identity
of the male that stopped fighting first and began to flee. A dark shelter was provided in the
rear of the arena so that the subordinate male could hide from the aggressor. None of the
males was injured.
The characteristics of the dominant male were compared with those of the
subordinate in each trial with one-tailed Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks tests (Siegel
1956) or one-tailed, unpaired t-tests on principal component factor score differences. The
differences between the factor scores of the two males used in each trial, calculated as the
dominant male's scores minus the subordinate male's scores, are expected to be significantly
greater than zero if dominant males are more highly ornamented (as described in the
methods for Chapter 3). Correlations between time measurements and differences in male
ornamentation were determined using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient
Differences in ornamentation between subgroups of males, e.g., displayers and
nondisplayers, were tested for statistical significance with the Mann-Whitney U test.
Male Model Trials
Artificial males constructed from decoys were used to test the effects of male fleshy
ornamentation on the decision-making of Uve males. The use of models allowed for the
experimental control of male characteristics that usually covary with snood length. The
model males were exactly like those used in the mate choice experiments described earher
(Chapter 3), except that they did not have fanned tails and they were not accompanied by the
recorded display sounds. One male model had a long snood and many side caruncles
(highly ornamented) and the other had a shorter snood and fewer side caruncles (slightly
ornamented). The models were placed 1.3 m apart at one end of the rectangular arena
(Figure 4-lb). The relative positions of the highly ornamented and shghtly ornamented
models were randomized. Approximately 15 ml of bird seed was placed in a pile on the
ground immediately below the bill of each model. Males were denied food for a few hours
immediately before the trial, but this appeared to have Uttle impact on their behavior because

57
they did not feed immediately when food was returned after the trial. In any case bird seed
was a preferred treat that the turkeys would eat preferentially even when their regular food
was available ad libitum. During each model trial a single male was admitted through a door
in one side of the arena. The latency of the males to feed from one of the seed piles was
recorded. Males that did not choose a seed pile within 30 min were removed and were not
retested.
Results
Live Male Trials
Fighting occurred in 8 of the 14 trials. Fights lasted on average only 46.1 sec. Out
of the 6 trials in which no fighting occurred, there were three cases in which the subordinate
male fled from the other male immediately. In one case the males did not fight nor flee, nor
did they ever directly contact one another. The duration of fighting showed a trend toward
being negatively correlated with differences in beard length between the two males (rs=
-0.51, p=0.07). During fighting only 2 of the 28 males tested, distended their snoods
slightly (just past the bill opening). In both cases these males were later classified as
dominant to the individual with which they were paired.
Seven of the ten male characteristics measured directly were found to be strongly
correlated (r2 >0.4) with one another (Table 4-1). These were spur length, relaxed snood
length, side caruncle number, skullcap width, frontal caruncle area, frontal caruncle depth
and body mass. A factor analysis utilizing varimax transformation produced four factors
from these variables (Table 4-2). Snood length and mass loaded on the first factor, spur
length, frontal caruncle area and caruncle depth loaded on the second factor, skullcap width
loaded on the third factor and side caruncle number loaded on the fourth factor. The factor
scores of these variables are analyzed below in addition to the raw measurements in an
attempt to identify underlying axes of variation in these characters.

Table 4-1. Correlation matrix (r2) of characters measured from 28 males used in dominance trials.
Variable
Tarsus
Spur
length
length
Spur
length
.14
Beard
length
.118
.24
Relaxed
snood
.188
.158
Stretched
snood
-.154
.165
Caruncle
depth
.165
.503
Mass
.228
-.029
No. side
caruncles
.255
.37
Skullcap
width
.071
.253
Caruncle
.036
.422
Beard
length
Relaxed
snood
Stretched
snood
-.057
-.251
.598
.352
.601
.433
.339
.522
.249
.157
.368
.106
.16
.526
.444
.336
.586
.334
Caruncle
depth
Mass
No. side
caruncles
.451
.409
.158
.485
.235
.433
.759
.372
.439
Skullcap
width
.493

Table 4-2. Results after varimax transformation of a PCA of the correlation matrix of the seven male characters listed below as measured
from 28 males. The rotated factor pattern indicates how strongly each character is associated with each independent axis.
Rotated Factor Pattern
First Factor
Second Factor
Third Factor
Fourth Factor
spur length
-0.13
0.90
0.03
0.21
relaxed snood
0.62
0.16
0.58
0.14
skullcap width
0.08
0.15
0.91
0.21
caruncle area
0.44
0.61
0.44
0.14
caruncle depth
-0.19
0.04
-0.95
-0.20
side caruncle no.
0.50
0.68
0.36
0.10
mass
0.94
0.00
0.05
0.07
Proportion of Common
0.29
0.29
0.25
0.17
Variance Explained by
Factor

60
The differences between the two males scores on factors 2,3 and 4 were not
significantly different from zero (mean differences = -0.14,0.5,0.11, respectively; Table 4-
3). However the results for factor 1, though only nearly significant, suggest that snood
length and body mass may be associated with dominance in male wild turkeys (mean
difference = 0.48). When the difference between dominant and subordinate males in these
characters are assessed directly, without the aid of factor analysis, relaxed snood length is
the only character that is significantly different between the two groups (Table 4-3).
However dominant males on average had higher values for all ten of the variables measured
(Binomial test, N=10, one-tailed, P=0.06).
Individuals that started fights were no more likely to become dominant than those
that responded to the threat behavior (X2=2.27, v=l, p> 0.05). The time until first contact in
the 13 trials in which contact occurred averaged 129.2 sec, although 85% were 32 sec or
less. The difference in ornamentation of the males was associated with the time until first
contact between males that actually fought The time until first contact was positively
correlated with differences between males on the second factor (spur length, caruncle area
and depth; rs= 0.52, n=13, p=0.07). This relationship was statistically significant if the raw
differences in spur length are tested rather than the factor scores (rs= 0.59, p=0.04). The
difference in the frequency of wingflapping bouts prior to contact, on the other hand, was
negatively associated with time until first contact, although only nearly significantly (rs=
-0.50, p=0.08).
The males had been divided into two matched groups for the dominance trials:
nondisplayers and displayers. The eleven displayer males tended to have longer stretched
snoods (4.0 vs. 4.6 cm; U=56, U^Bl, p=0.08) and larger factor two scores (spur, frontal
caruncle area and depth; U=52, UJ= 135, p=0.05). However only caruncle depth was
significantly different when the raw values of these variables were compared between the
two groups (1.0 vs 1.2 cm; U=30.5, 156.5, p=0.003).

Table 4-3. Mean and standard errors for morphological and behavioral measurements for dominant and subordinate males.
Variables
Dominant
Subordinant
Probability
tarsus
16.2 (0.4)
16.3 (0.1)
ns
spur length
1.9 (0.1)
2.0 (0.1)
ns
beard length
14.7 (1.9)
13.8 (1.9)
ns
relaxed snood
3.1 (0.2)
2.5 (0.2)
0.02
stretched snood
4.5 (0.2)
4.0 (0.3)
ns
side caruncles
25.4 (3.6)
22.3 (3.1)
ns
front caruncle area
72.6 (6.0)
67.8 (9.3)
ns
front caruncle depth
1.1 (0.1)
1.0 (0.1)
ns
skullcap width
4.7 (0.1)
4.5 (0.2)
ns
mass
8.7 (0.3)
8.3 (0.3)
ns
condition
0.5 (0.0)
0.5 (0.0)
ns
first factor
0.24 (0.27)
-0.24 (0.26)
0.03
second factor
-0.68 (0.20)
0.07 (0.30)
ns
third factor
0.25 (0.22)
-0.25 (0.30)
ns
fourth factor
0.06 (0.30)
-0.06 (0.24)
ns
no. fight pecks
0.4 (0.3)
0.0 (0.0)
ns
no. fight kicks
1.1 (0.7)
0.9 (0.4)
ns
no. pre-fight wing flaps
0.4 (0.4)
0.6 (0.4)
ns
Note: One-tailed probabilities are listed as nonsignificant (ns) if P>0.05. Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks tests were used for the
directly measured variables and unpaired t-tests were used for the factor scores.

62
Male Model Trials
Twenty one of the 28 males tested responded by feeding within the 30 min trial
period. Of the seven males that did not respond, two attacked the decoys (one gave fighting
purrs to the less ornamented model, the other pecked the snood of the more ornamented
model), four did not feed or approach the decoys, and one trial was excluded because a
decoy toppled over. A significant number of the 21 males that responded under the trial
conditions fed in front of the less ornamented decoy (X2= 8.0, v=l, p< 0.01). The four
males who chose to feed from the seed in front of the more ornamented male tended to have
smaller spurs (mean= 2.1 vs. 1.3 cm; U= 22.5, U*= 73.5, p=0.09) and fewer side caruncles
(25.7 vs. 12.8; U=18, U1=78, p=0.05) than the 17 who fed in front of the less ornamented
model. The latency of the males to feed (i.e. the time from the start of the trial until males
began to feed) was not correlated with any of the male characters measured. The males who
did not feed during the trial were not different from the other males in any of the measured
characters (Mann Whitney U-tests, all p> 0.05).
Discussion
In dyadic encounters between wild turkeys the only male character significantly
predictive of the outcome of male-male interaction was relaxed snood length. Dominant
males had longer relaxed snoods than their subordinate partners. Similarly males tended to
avoid feeding on seeds near model males with longer snoods in the male model trials.
These complementary results strongly suggest that males assess one another's snood length
as an indicator of male condition and status. Therefore it is surprising that differences in
snood length do not affect the time until, or duration of, combat If snood length is a good
indicator of status, males with similar snood lengths should need to battle longer to resolve
relative dominance status than pairs of males with very disparate snood lengths. Additional
studies are necessary to understand why males do not adjust their investment in fighting
according to their likelihood of winning.

63
Differences in several other male characters showed tendencies to be correlated with
the time until first contact and the duration of fighting. Males with similar spur lengths
fought each other sooner after meeting than dissimilar males. Spurs serve as weapons
during battle in a number of galliforms (Davison 1985) including wild turkeys, but none of
the evidence shows that the length of spurs affects the outcome of combat. In fact an
experimental field study in Sweden clearly demonstrated that variation in the length of spurs
is not a good predictor of dominance status in ringneck pheasants CPhasianus colchicus).
although this character is assessed by females during mate choice (von Schantz et al. 1989).
Spur length in wild turkeys is a reliable predictor of age (Kelly 1975) and older males tend
to be larger and in better condition (Chapter 3). Therefore spur length may normally be
assessed by competitors before battle in the wild where different aged animals encounter
one another, but is of little significance in the outcome of trials where males are of the same
age as was the case here.
Differences in the frequency of wingflapping bouts, a behavior associated with
aggressiveness in other galliforms, tended to be negatively correlated with time until first
contact However this behavior did not occur at a higher frequency in dominant individuals.
Similarly differences in beard length between males tended towards a negative correlation
with duration of fighting. The greater the difference in beard lengths between males the
more quickly they tended to resolve fights. However beard length was not a good predictor
of dominance status either. Beard length increases with age to some degree (Kelly 1975),
but is strongly affected by abrasion and thus is probably not a consistent indicator of age
across different habitats (Pelham & Dickson 1992). Studies of beard and spur
development relative to agonistic interactions in mixed-age populations are needed.
In captivity males classified as "displayers" had longer stretched snoods than
nondisplayers. I did not test the relative dominance of these two types of males. Off hand
it might seem reasonable to conclude that displayers will be dominant over nondisplayers
because displayers have longer stretched snoods. However more caution in interpreting the

64
implications of stretched snood lengths is necessary. Snood distension is muscular (Lucas
& Stettenheim 1972), therefore the difference in stretched snood length between displayers
and nondisplayers may possibly be attributable to the greater exercise given the snood by
the "displayer" males. Additional evidence to support this hypothesis comes from the
previous chapter (Chapter 3) where average display rate (a measure of how often the snood
is distended) was found to be strongly correlated with stretched snood length but only
weakly correlated with relaxed snood length. For this reason it is unclear whether
displaying males can be assumed to be dominant over nondisplayers based on
ornamentation differences. This cautionary note serves as a reminder that behavior can
influence morphology just as the reverse is true.
Snood length was strongly correlated with body mass, a factor thought to be very
important to resource holding capacity and the outcome of dyadic encounters in many
species (Parker 1974; Richner 1989; Beaugrand et al. 1991). In this study males differed
by several kilograms in weight in some cases, and yet this variable, when measured alone,
did not have a significant effect on the outcome of fighting. Snood length, on the other
hand, was greater in dominant males when raw measurements were used and nearly so when
factor scores were used. This suggests that snood length indicates more than just body
mass to potential competitors. Results presented earlier (Chapter 3) confirm that snoods are
good indicators of a number of measures of male condition, including parasite burden,
energy reserves and possibly age. My results suggest that males use snood length as a
general measure of the risks associated with fighting over food or status and that females
use this male character to assess male condition and fighting success.
Similar results were obtained in comprehensive studies of sexual selection in red
junglefowl, Gallus gallus: (Lign et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; 1992). Comb length
in this species is maintained by female choice. Females choose males based on comb
length because this character indicates male parasite burden and fighting success. Thus the
comb of junglefowl and the snood of wild turkeys fit Borgia's (1979) War Propaganda

65
model for the evolution of extravagant ornamentation because females are choosing males
based on characters that indicate male fighting success.
In contrast studies of sexual behavior and fleshy ornamentation in grouse suggest a
different scenario than that in phasianids. Comb size is a good indicator of male status in
ptarmigans (Gjesdal 1977; Moss et al. 1979; Stokkan 1979) and affects how males interact
(Holder & Montgomerie 1993), but this character is not under direct selection by females.
Instead female ptarmigan preferentially mate with males whose combs show less damage
from fighting. In larger grouse comb characteristics appear to be unimportant to female
mate choice (Alatalo et al. 1991). Why do females assess male fleshy ornamentation
differently in phasianids and grouse? One reason may be that phasianids have permanently
exposed fleshy ornaments, while grouse can hide their combs beneath feathers. The
facultative nature of comb exposure makes it more difficult for females to assess the size of
the comb. As a consequence females are selected to base their mate choice on a more easily
and quickly assessed characteristic (Sullivan 1994), such as scarring and damage from
fighting (Brodsky 1988). This interpretation is at best speculative but warrants further
investigation.
In conclusion it appears that female and male wild turkeys can use male fleshy
ornamentation to assess male condition and dominance status. Male characteristics that are
important in other species, such as body mass or age, were not valid predictors of the
outcome of male-male agonistic interactions in this study or were not included as a variable.
Fleshy ornamentation appears to be an indicator of male status because it is probably
dependent on a condition- and dominance-dependent hormone, testosterone. Both males
and females seem to take advantage of the information provided by snood length to increase
their fitness.

CHAPTER 5
THE THERMOREGULATORY ROLE OF THE
UNFEATHERED HEAD AND NECK IN MALE WILD TURKEYS
Introduction
Emdotherms usually maintain body temperatures above environmental temperature at
considerable energetic cost An unexplained exception to the general endotherm pattern of
having insulation against heat loss are birds that have brightly colored areas of unfeathered
skin on their heads and necks. Although the bright coloration of these structures is
consistent with a sexually selected function, some studies have suggested that these areas of
bare skin also maintain sublethal brain temperatures by dissipating heat via cephalo-cervical
retes (Crowe & Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979; LaRochelle et al. 1982; Chapter 2).
The heat dissipation hypothesis is supported by correlative studies showing that unfeathered
head and neck skin is maximally exposed at high temperatures and that in some taxa the
size of unfeathered areas is greater at low latitudes where heat dissipation may be of greater
importance (Crowe 1979; Chapter 2). Highly vascularized fleshy ornamentation presents a
functional puzzle when species are distributed over a large latitudinal range in which they
are exposed to both temperature extremes. Although these species may benefit by using
their FS to dissipate heat under hot conditions, the uninsulated nature of these structures
subjects them to extreme heat loss under cold conditions and heat gain in the presence of
solar radiation. In this study I test the possible thermoregulatory function of unfeathered
head ornamentation in a species that commonly faces extremes of cold and heat, the wild
turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
Wild turkeys occur over a broad range of temperature extremes from their southern
limit in southern Mexico to their northern limits along the US-Canada border (Dickson
66

67
1992). Males are twice as large as females, and have brightly colored unfeathered skin on
their heads and necks. In addition this skin is covered with polyp-like elaborations of the
integument called caruncles. A thin dewlap extends from the mandible down to the neck.
Perhaps most distinctive is the bare, distensible frontal process or snood that projects from
the forehead at the base of the upper bill.
Fleshy head ornamentation in wild turkeys and other galliformes is often thought to
be maintained by sexual selection, that is, it functions in mate choice and male-male
competition. Ample empirical evidence supports this contention (Brodsky 1988; Boyce
1990; Hillgarth 1990; Lign et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; Spurrier et al. 1991; Zuk
et al. 1992; Chapters 3 & 4;). A role in sexual selection, however, does not rule out
concurrent functions for these structures in thermoregulation. To understand why the
unfeathered areas of turkeys are maintained despite the possible costs in terms of heat loss,
the thermoregulatory tradeoffs faced by wild turkeys with feathered and unfeathered heads
must be assessed. Because all extant wild turkeys have bare heads, in this study I
experimentally insulate the heads and necks of turkeys, to assess the thermoregulatory
tradeoffs that ancestral turkeys may have faced at cold and hot temperatures.
Methods
Subjects and Apparatuses
Eight, two-year old, male wild turkeys, obtained as chicks from a game farm (L&L
Pheasantry, Flegins, PA, USA), were used in the metabolic trials. These birds were reared
as described in Chapter 3. Gray and Price (1988) showed no difference in the metabolic
rates of w ild turkeys from game farm or free-living sources. Average body weight of these
individuals was 7.1 kg (range 6.4-8.1 kg). During the study period (June-Sept 1993) the
birds were provided with feed (Purina Gamebird Maintenance, 12% protein) and water M
libitum. Subjects were denied food for 26-29 hrs immediately prior to each metabolic trial

68
to insure that they were post-absorptive. Post-absorptive conditions are necessary to
measure the basal or minimum rate of metabolism. Water was still available during the pre
trial period.
Oxygen consumption and total water loss were measured in an open system
(described by McNab 1988). The temperature of the 329 liter metabolic chamber was
regulated by pumping water from a water bath through the chamber's hollow walls. Room
air was sucked through the metabolic chamber, pumped into glass columns filled with soda
lime (to remove CO2) and silica gel (to remove H2O), after which flow rates, which averaged
20.61/min, were measured by a Brooks Sho-Rate flowmeter. Subsequently the airstream
was sampled with an Applied Electrochemistry S-3A oxygen analyzer. The temperature
and humidity of room air varied very little, 23.5 C (0.0) and 61.2% (0.2), respectively.
Humidity in the chamber was not controlled. The birds evaporative water loss was
measured gravimetrically, that is, by weighing the silica gel. Core body temperature was
measured by inserting a copper-constantan thermocouple, tipped with a thin layer of
silicone, into the cloaca of the bird to a depth of 20 cm. This measurement was taken
immediately before the subject was placed in the metabolic chamber and immediately after it
was removed from the chamber. Six surface temperature measurements were taken: feather,
leg, body skin, head skin, frontal caruncle and dewlap. Surface temperatures were measured
with a bare-tipped thermocouple held against the appropriate spot while the subject was still
in its holding box before the trial and again while it was still in the metabolic chamber at the
end of a trial. Skin and feather surface temperature were measured approximately 3 cm
ventral to the carpal joint of the wing. Leg temperature was measured immediately posterior
to the third scale below the tarsal joint on the left or right leg, depending on which was
accessible. Head skin temperature was measured on the back of the head at a point in line
with the lower mandible. Surface temperature of the frontal caruncles and dewlap were
measured at their approximate centers.

69
Different rates of physical activity across subjects and trials can make it difficult to
detect the effect of experimental treatments on metabolic rate. Therefore I minimized the
bird's activity by conducting trials at night in the dark. Metabolic trials lasting 2.5 hours
were conducted between 20:00-03:00 hours. All subjects were given at least one day
between trials. Individual turkeys were tested at the same time of day (either 20:00 or 0:00
hours) across all treatments to minimize circadian effects on matched comparisons of
metabolic rate. The first 30 min of each trial served as an equilibration period during which
the bird calmed down after handling. The least observed rate of oxygen consumption
(corrected to standard pressure and temperature) measured during each of the four
subsequent 30 min periods was used to calculate an average metabolic rate for the entire
trial. All individuals were given two 2.5 hr habituation trials prior to the experimental trials.
Usually the subjects rested quietly during the experimental trials. Behaviorial states were
recorded by instaneous sampling (Martin & Bateson 1986) every 30 min. Three states
were noted as present or absent: standing, head tucked under feathers, panting.
Observations were made with the aid of a flashlight through a small window in the chamber.
Experimental Design
To determine the potential thermoregulatory impact that head feathering would have
on wild turkeys, their thermal balance was ascertained when their heads were "bare" (see
below) and when they were insulated as though they were feathered. To approximate the
insulatory properties of head and neck feathering, the bare head and neck of the turkey
were covered with a double layer (0.6 cm on head, 0.9 cm on neck) of acrylic sock (Adler
"Casual Acrylic Crew," 75% Hi-Bulk Acrylic/25% Stretch Nylon) with large holes for the
eyes and the entire bill. Any irritational effects of the insulatory head covering on metabolic
rate were controlled by placing a hood made of thin, nylon netting with little insulatory value
on the heads of the "bare" individuals. The control head net and insulatory head socking
were held in place with small alligator clips that attached to the back and chest feathers at the

70
base of the neck. The efficacy of using head socking to approximate the insulation
provided by normal feathering was determined by studying the warming curves of the
feathered and unfeathered/reinsulated heads of domestic roosters (Gallus gallus).
Six dependent thermoregulatory variables may be affected by head insulation.
Metabolic rate, as measured by oxygen consumption (cm3 02/g*hr), is a measure of the
work the animal does to maintain thermeostasis. Rate of evaporative water loss (g/hr) is a
measure of the heat lost via evaporation. Metabolic heat production (Hm) and evaporative
heat loss (He) can be converted to common units (mW/g) to compare the cooling capacity
of the animal in different treatments. Cooling capacity is the ability of the animal to
dissipate metabolically produced heat by evaporation. It is expressed as a percentage,
calculated as the heat lost by evaporation divided by the heat produced by metabolism
(100% x He/Hm; Calder & King 1974). Total thermal conductance (mW/cm2 C)
measures all the heat lost by the animal, including evaporative heat loss, and is the inverse of
insulation. It is estimated using the values for heat production, and ambient and body
temperatures. Dry thermal conductance on the other hand is a measure of all
nonevaporative means of heat loss: radiation, convection and conduction. If total
conductance is exceeded by heat production, heat is stored in the tissues of the animal and
body temperature rises. Each of these variables may be varied by the animal to cope with
increased head and neck insulation.
Thermoregulatory trials were conducted twice for each turkey at each of three
ambient temperatures (0,22,35 C); one time as a control, the other with its head insulated.
These temperatures were chosen to be below, within and above, respectively, the zone of
thermal neutrality (Gray & Price 1988). The temperatures are also within the range that
turkeys experience in the wild. A total of 48 trials were conducted. This matched design
compares the metabolic values of each turkey in the experimental treatment to the values
obtained from the same bird in the control treatment. This serves to minimize the effects of
inter-individual variation on the effect of the experimental treatment. Due to scheduling

71
conflicts in the laboratory, every turkey was tested at 0 C before it was exposed to the other
temperatures. The presentation order of the trials at 22 and 35 C was randomized.
Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to test the effects of body size (mean = 6.7 vs. 7.5
kg for small and large, respectively), chamber temperature and head insulation on oxygen
consumption (cm3 02/g*hr), cooling capacity, total and dry thermal conductances (mW/cm2
C) and changes in body and surface temperatures (C). The effect of each 30 min
sampling period was also included when oxygen consumption was the dependent variable.
Treatment groups exhibited similar variances (Fmay tests, all p>0.05; Sokal & Rohlf 1981).
Reported p values have been adjusted using Greenhouse-Geisser epsilon values. This
technique conservatively compensates for the use of repeated measures by adjusting the
degrees of freedom (Abacus Concepts Inc. 1989).
Results
The mass specific rate of oxygen consumption was significantly lower for large
individuals across all temperatures (mean= 0.4140 0.007 vs. 0.4730 0.013 cm3 02/g*hr;
Table 5-1). Rate of metabolism was not significantly different for uninsulated and insulated
turkeys at 0 and 22 C. However at 35 C insulated turkeys exhibited a significantly higher
average metabolic rate than uninsulated turkeys (Table 5-2, Figure 5-1). A significant,
three-way interaction between head insulation, temperature and time period suggests that the
effects of head insulation became more pronounced the longer the subject was exposed to
the chamber conditions at hot temperatures.
When the cooling capacities of uninsulated and insulated turkeys were compared,
uninsulated turkeys demonstrate a significantly greater ability than insulated turkeys to
dissipate excess metabolic heat by evaporation at 35 C, but not at cooler temperatures
(Figure 5-2). Total thermal conductance increased with temperature. It was also greater for
insulated birds overall (Table 5-1, Figure 5-3) but this difference was significant only at the

72
hottest temperature (Table 5-2). Dry thermal conductance decreased with increasing
temperature in the uninsulated birds. Insulated birds showed a similar pattern of
conductances at 0 and 22 C but had significantly higher values than uninsulated birds at 35
C.
Head insulation resulted in significantly greater core body temperature changes of
birds at 35 C, but not at the lower temperatures tested (Figure 5-4). Head insulation served
to keep head skin warmer at 0 C (31.2 1.0 C uninsulated vs. 36.7 0.3 C insulated),
but did not result in significantly higher skin temperatures at 22 and 35 C. Insulated
turkeys at 22 C increased their dewlap temperatures significantly more than uninsulated
birds (32.1 0.7 C uninsulated vs 35.2 0.3 C insulated), but this was not true at 0 or
35 C. Body skin, feather, frontal caruncle and leg temperatures all increased with
increasing ambient temperatures, but were not affected by the insulation treatment (Table 5-
1).
Across and within each temperature treatment, head insulation had no effect on the
proportion of instantaneous observations in which the subjects were seen to be standing,
panting, or had their head tucked in back feathers or under the wing (Mann-Whitney U
tests, N=16, all p0.05). Panting only occurred at 35 C. The frequency of panting was
difficult to observe because the birds often held their necks forward and down so that the
view from the small window was blocked by the bird's body. Therefore it is not possible to
look for associations between panting frequency and thermal balance. Nevertheless upon
opening the chamber at the end of the 35 C trials, panting and an elongated snood (only
visible in uninsulated trials) were observed in all individuals. Snood elongation did not
occur at other temperatures.
Although the proportion of observations in which the subjects were standing was
not influenced by the insulation treatment, the frequency of this behavior did influence some
of the dependent thermal variables. Frequency of standing was significantly

73
Table 5-1. Partial results of repeated measures ANOVAs showing statistically significant
sources of variation in, and those with strong trends of influence on, the dependent
measures of thermal balance listed.
Dependent Variable
Source of Variance
df
F value
Probability
Oxygen
Size
1
5.96
0.050
Consumption
Insulation *Temp
2
4.16
0.053
Insul*Temp*Time
4
4.15
0.043
Cooling Capacity
Temperature
2
135.00
0.0001
Insulation*Temp
2
8.87
0.014
Thermal
Insulation
I
7.19
0.037
Conductance (Total)
Temperature
2
367.00
0.0001
Thermal
Insulation*Temp
2
8.03
0.028
Conductance (Dry)
Insulation
1
5.30
0.061
Temperature
2
9.45
0.016
Insulation*Temp
2
7.96
0.027
Core Body
Insulation
1
6.62
0.042
Temperature
Temperature
2
22.10
0.002
Insulation*Temp
2
10.39
0.011
Leg Temperature
Temperature
2
150.00
0.0001
Skin Temperature
Temperature
2
3.70
0.086
Feather Temperature
Insulation
1
4.43
0.083
Temperature
2
42.01
0.001
Head Skin
Insulation
1
12.09
0.013
Temperature
Temperature
2
16.28
0.001
Frontal Caruncle
Temperature
Temperature
2
6.39
0.013
Dewlap Temperature
Temperature
2
6.83
0.014
Insul*Temperature
2
7.79
0.009

74
Table 5-2. Mean values of dependent thermal variables in eight wild turkeys exposed to
three ambient temperatures (C) with their bare heads and necks uinsulated or insulated.
Values presented for temperature measurements are mean changes in temperature (end of
trial value minus beginning of trial value).
Dependent Variables
Oxygen Consumption
Cooling Capacity
Thermal Conductance (Total)
Thermal Conductance (Dry)
Core Body Temperature
Leg Temperature
Skin Temperature
Feather Temperature
Head Skin Temperature
Frontal Caruncle
Temperature
Dewlap Temperature
Means
(SE)
UNINSULATED HEADS
0 22 35
0.45c
0.41
0.43a
(0.02)
(0.01)
(0.02)
24.68
76.83
119.69a
(3.31)
(5.47)
(7.33)
0.11
0.24
0.78a
(0.01)
(0.01)
(0.03)
0.09
0.06
-0.15a
(0.10)
(0.02)
(0.05)
-0.44
-0.44
0.36a
(0.17)
(0.12)
(0.13)
-16.96
0.00
2.54
(1.53)
(0.62)
(0.48)
-2.39
-1.21
2.61
(1.80)
(1.86)
(1.34)
-8.99
1.15
5.45
(1.67)
(0.39)
(0.73)
-3.03k
-0.16
2.30
(1.37)
(0.45)
(0.73)
-1.98
-0.71
1.46
(1.05)
(0.70)
(0.63)
-0.20
-1.94a
2.89
(0.77)
(1.06)
(0.78)
Means
(SE)
INSULATED HEADS
0
22
35
0.48C
0.40
0.50a
(0-24)
(0.01)
(0.02)
29.51
84.90
96.73a
(3.27)
(3.33)
(4.32)
0.12
0.23
0.92a
(0.01)
(0.01)
(0.06)
0.09
0.04
0.44a
(0.12)
(0.01)
(0.05)
-0.35
-0.45
1.49a
(0.15)
(0.11)
(0.37)
-19.15
-0.11
3.31
(3.10)
(0.69)
(0.64)
-2.71
-0.16
2.48
(2.43)
(1.21)
(0.68)
-11.01
0.73
3.86
(1.49)
(0.63)
(1.54)
0.7 lb
1.11
2.96
(0.33)
(0.43)
(0.42)
-5.48
1.59
3.94
(4.56)
(0.80)
(0.82)
-0.87
2.53a
2.70
(0.56)
(0.52)
(1.18)
Statistically significant differences between values of uninsulated and insulated birds at the
same temperature have the following probabilities: a <0.01; b <0.05; 0.09> c >0.05.

Oxygen Consumption (cm3/g*hr)
75
0 C 22 C 35 C
Figure 5-1. Oxygen consumption of eight turkeys with heads
uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.

76
O C 22 C 35 C
Figure 5-2. Cooling capacities of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated
(empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.

Total Thermal Conductance (mW/cm2*C)
77
0 C 22 C 35 C
Figure 5-3. Total thermal conductances of eight turkeys with heads
uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.

78
O C 22 C 35 C
Figure 5-4. Change in core body temperature of eight turkeys with heads
uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.

79
correlated with higher head skin temperatures at 0 C (both insulation treatments combined,
rs= 0.54, p=0.05) and is associated with a tendency for lower rates of metabolic heat
production (rs= -0.50, p=0.07). At 22 and 35 C, feather temperature inversely correlated
with standing frequency (rs= -0.66, p=0.01 and rs= -0.52, p= 0.05, respectively).
Head tucking occurred in eight of 16 trials by six different individuals at 0 C.
Higher frequencies of head tucking were positively, though only nearly significantly,
correlated with changes in feather and dewlap temperatures (rs= 0.49, p=0.08 and rs= 0.50,
p=0.05, respectively), and negatively correlated with changes in skin temperature (rho=
-0.58, p=0.04), changes in core body temperature (rs= -0.54, p= 0.05), metabolic heat
production (rs= -0.56, p= 0.05) and both total and dry conductance (rs= -0.56, p= 0.05 and
rs= -0.66, p= 0.02, respectively).
Discussion
A dramatic cost of insulated heads and necks occurs in male wild turkeys at high
temperatures. Insulated males had higher metabolic rates and markedly increased core body
temperatures. Associated with this were increased dry and evaporative thermal
conductances over uninsulated males at the same temperature. However the much lower
cooling capacities of insulated males reveals their relative inability to dissipate metabolic
heat by evaporative heat loss. These results demonstrate that the unfeathered heads and
necks of male wild turkeys, and possibly the fleshy structures on the head, contribute to heat
dissipation at high ambient temperatures.
Contrary to expectations, under cold conditions head and neck insulation did not
significantly reduce thermal conductance or increase metabolic heat production. Under cold
conditions free living wild turkeys often contract the skin at the back of their necks,
effectively drawing the feathered skin at the base of the neck up and over much of the
usually bare areas of the back of the neck (personal observation). The captive wild turkeys
in this study exhibited similar behavior, possibly explaining the absence of a difference in

80
thermal conductance between uninsulated and insulated birds at 0 C. Because winter
starvation can be an important source of mortality for turkey populations in the northern
part of their distribution (Healy 1992b), reducing heat loss from the head may enhance
turkey survivorship. At night thermal conductance may be further decreased by tucking the
head under the wing or back feathers. In this study four of the eight uninsulated individuals
at 0 C were seen to have their heads tucked during at least one of the observation periods.
Three of these had lower metabolic rates than the remaining individuals, providing support
for this explanation. LaRochelle et al. (1982) found a similar effect of head tucking in black
vultures, which also have unfeathered heads. Additional studies of the effect of artificial and
behavioral head insulation on heat production and loss in wild turkeys are needed at low
temperatures.
Other birds have modified unfeathered areas to control heat loss. Ptarmigan
(Lagopus spp.), which live at high latitudes and altitudes where the difference between body
temperature and ambient temperature can be large (e.g., > 60 C), often have legs and feet
that are feathered (Johnsgard 1983). Other species limit heat loss in cold conditions with
vascular modifications. Gulls (Laridae) have counter-current heat exchange mechanisms
that reduce heat loss from the feet under cold conditions (Baudinette et al. 1976). The wood
stork (Mvcteria americana) and turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) use their unfeathered legs to
dump heat at hot temperatures and are able to enhance this mechanism of heat loss by
defecating on their legs to promote evaporative heat loss (Kahl 1963; Hatch 1970). Ducks
may utilize the large surface area of their bills to dissipate heat (Hagan & Heath 1980). The
wild turkeys used in this study are the only species in which the value of unfeathered heads
and necks for heat dissipation has been demonstrated experimentally.
Previous studies of the metabolism of the wild turkey have ignored the metabolism
of wild turkeys at temperatures above 25 C (Gray & Price 1988; Oberlag et al. 1990). The
adaptive benefit of unfeathered heads demonstrated here suggests that peak effective
temperatures during the reproductive season, especially in habitats without shade, may limit

81
wild turkey distribution or population density. These results are reinforced by early studies
on the temperature requirements of domestic turkeys. High ambient temperature
(approximately 30 C) and exposure to direct sunlight may reduce male fertility by as much
as 10% in Broad-Breasted Bronze turkeys, the domestic breed most similar in appearance to
wild turkeys (Kosin & Mitchell 1955). Wilson and Woodard (1955) found that all
domestic turkeys were subject to hyperthermia at ambient temperatures above 32 C, but
that this was particularly true of large males. In addition body temperature and water
consumption by domestic turkeys were inversely correlated with the percent shade cover
provided at ambient temperatures above 35 C (Wilson et al. 1955; Wilson & Woodard
1955). Wild turkeys experienced heat stress at 35 C in the lab in this study. All males
responded to hot chamber temperatures by panting, dropping their wings, and extending
their necks and snoods. One individual (no. 1) even became frantic at the very end of both
high temperature trials and was removed immediately. Behavioral changes that occur in
free-living wild males under hot conditions provide similar support
Mature male turkeys in northern Florida seem to avoid bright sun and in the
summer are found standing in heavy shade with dewlap and neck bright red and extended
while panting heavily (personal observation). Also it seems that males are more reluctant to
flee under these conditions and can be approached more closely than when it is cooler.
Males are faced with a thermoregulatory quandry under hot, sunny conditions. Resting
quietly in the shade maintains sublethal body temperatures but does not allow feeding,
fighting for access to mates, or displaying to females. These latter activities, however, are
also functionally and adaptively necessary, but result in metabolic heat production and
exposure to solar radiation. Field studies of the behavior of wild turkeys relative to
environmental conditions, including radiative heat load and wind speed, are needed to
understand how males tradeoff thermal needs with feeding and mating success. The results
of this study suggest that the bare head and neck of male wild turkeys enables wild turkeys
to manage these conflicting goals more successfully.

CHAPTER 6
GENERAL DISCUSSION
The unfeathered, ornamented head of male wild turkeys has dual adaptive functions:
it indirectly increases mating success and directly increases heat dissipation at high
temperatures. The FS of wild turkeys increases mating success in two ways. Male snood
length, is strongly correlated with both female choice and male dominance. A negative
correlation between snood length and number of coccidia oocysts found in the feces
suggests that females use male snood length to detect which males are resistant to this
debilitating parasite. Females that mate with parasite-resistant males may have increased
fitness if the male's parasite resistance is heritable, because her offspring will be better able
to withstand the deleterious effects of parasitism. Longer snooded males were dominant
over shorter snooded ones and all males avoided interaction with longer snooded artificial
males. Males may avoid fighting with longer snooded males because of the risks of
combatting males that are likely to be in better overall condition.
In addition to these sexually selected functions for some aspects of the unfeathered
head of wild turkeys, FS are used in thermoregulation. Turkeys whose head and
ornamentation had been insulated as though covered with feathers were unable to dissipate
heat at high temperatures. Although the thermoregulatory function of the uninsulated head
was not experimentally attributed to any one part of the male's head ornamentation in this
study, the distention of snoods by males at high temperatures suggest that this character
may be used to dissipate heat.
The mystery of FS maintenance and evolution in wild turkeys and other galliforms
was not fully explained by the study of sexual selection and thermoregulation described
above. The head ornamentation of wild turkeys has several components, only one of which,
82

83
the snood, seemed to be under directional sexual and natural selection. In particular the
functions of the distinctive side and front caruncles remain unexplained. These characters
showed considerable variation that could be used by females and other males to discriminate
among males. Why are these characters maintained? Multiple year, mate choice studies
have shown that the characters that females seem to be assessing can vary somewhat from
year to year. It is possible that mate choice may still be an important explanation for these
characters. Additional studies are needed to address variation in character assessment over
the lifetime of both males and females in this species.
Side and frontal caruncles are highly vascularized structures that typically turn
bright red during display due to increased blood flow. My experimental treatment did not
selectively insulate these structures, but the increased surface area provided by these
characters could serve to increase the dissipation of excess body heat over that dissipated by
the plain bare skin. Thus caruncles may play a role in heat dissipation during male
courtship display. It may be possible to remove caruncles or restrict blood flow to them to
study their use in heat dissipation. Experimental studies such as this, coupled with field
observations of thermoregulatory behavior patterns can clarify the reason fleshy characters
characters other than the snood are maintained.
The highly competitive nature of highly polygynous mating systems, such as the
wild turkey's, is thought to select for increased body size in males. However large body size
poses a problem for animals in hot climates because their reduced surface area to volume
ratio makes it more difficult for these species to dissipate heat to the environment As
described in the second chapter, fleshy structures are larger and more common in larger
species. This suggests that the need for large fleshy structures in some species is caused by
increased body size driven by intense sexual selection. Species living in cooler climates and
small species in any climate should not experience the dilemma posed by hyperthermia, nor
should species that have low metabolic rates. Studies of fleshy structures relative to body

84
size and environmental temperatures in other avian taxa are needed to test the validity of this
hypothesis.
Studies of sexual selection rarely consider additional or alternative hypotheses for
the function of ornamental characters. Sexual selection theory generally assumes that
greater elaboration of sexually-selected traits carries with it decreased survival. The results
presented in this dissertation suggest that sexual selection may not necessarily be at odds
with natural selection. Instead sexual and natural selection may, in some cases, work in
tandem. The costs of sexually-selected ornaments are assumed to be extreme. However
attention to non-sexual hypotheses in addition to sexually-selected ones, may reveal that the
apparent benefits of extravagant characters are multiple and far outweigh the costs. Heated
debate between theoreticians on the evolutionary stability of different models of female
choice for male characteristics, has narrowed consideration of other functions for so-called
ornaments. My work suggests that a general skepticism of the ability of sexual selection to
explain everything is warranted. "A good field worker is nobody's poodle" (Grafen 1987,
p.221).

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Wink, M. & Bennett, G. F. 1976. Blood parasites of some birds from Ghana. J. Wildl.
Dis., 12,587-590.
Withers, P. & Crowe, T. 1980. Brain temperature fluctuations in helmeted guineafowl
under semi-natural conditions. Condor, 82,99-100.
Zahavi, A. 1975. Mate selection- a selection for a handicap. J. Theor. Biol., 53,205-214.
Zuk, M., Johnson, K., Thornhill, R. & Lign, J. 1990a. Mechanisms of female choice in
red jungle fowl. Evolution, 44,477-485.
Zuk, M., Lign, J. D. & Thornhill, R. 1992. Effects of experimental manipulation of male
secondary sex characters on female mate preference in red jungle fowl. Anim. Behav., 44,
999-1006.
Zuk, M., Thornhill, R., Lign, J. & Johnson, K. 1990b. Parasites and mate choice in red
jungle fowl. Amer. Zool., 30,235-244.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Richard Buchholz was bom in Manhasset, New York, on 5 November 1964 and
grew up in nearby Little Neck. His early interest in biology was satisfied by wandering the
salt marshes and seashore along Little Neck Bay on Long Island Sound and exploring the
forest during summer trips to his uncle's home in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania.
He majored in biology at the State University of New York at Binghamton and
graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, with outstanding overall performance and
distinguished independent study in biological sciences, in June 1986. Subsequently he
studied the reproductive behavior of the yellow-knobbed curassow in the wild in Venezuela
and in captivity in Mexico for his Master of Science degree, which was granted by the
University of Florida, Department of Zoology, in August 1989. This work led to his
interest in the costs and benefits of wattles, ceres and similar structures in birds. He
received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Department of Zoology, University of
Florida in August 1994.
94

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
eS-
Jane Brockmann, Chairman
Professor of Zoology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Richard A. Kiltie J
Associate Professor of Zoology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
n
¡i i
i
fi
tv
Douglas/J. Levey
Associate Professor of Zoology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Brian K. McNab
Professor of Zoology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope ancj-gnality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
llis C. Griner
Professor of Veterinary Medicine
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Zoology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was
accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Dean, Graduate School
August, 1994




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ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF FLESHY ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS AND RELATED BIRDS By RICHARD BUCHHOLZ A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1994

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"That's the whole problem with science. You've got a bunch of empiricists trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder." Calvin

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS My advisor, Jane Brockmann, has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping me with this project I will always be grateful for her enthusiasm, advice, instruction, guidance, constructive criticism and support. Little did I know that an academicumwelt is learned as well as innate, just like everything else. This study would not have been possible without the help of the rest of my committee. Ellis Greiner kindly taught me parasitology and allowed me to use his lab. He has also been very tolerant of the strange questions we ask over on this side of Archer Rd. Rich Kiltie has thought carefully about the theoretical underpinnings and techniques I have used to study fleshy structures. He directed me at several crucial turning points and made me realize the consequences of my assumptions (although I suspect he does not find turkeys very aesthetically pleasing). Doug Levey has always encouraged and helped me by considering even my wackiest ideas with tact He is also my secret source for everything "birdy." Brian McNab taught me about physiological ecology and generously allowed me to use his lab. Dave McDonald has served as a "ghost" committee member and a friend during my entire graduate career. Literally dozens of people helped catch, handle and process wild turkeys. I am grateful for their help. This study would not have been possible without it. In particular I would like to thank those who helped me several times, including Laurie Eberhardt Ron Clouse, Paula Cushing, and Monica Marquez. Farol Tomson and Frank Nordlie found a place to keep the turkeys, the Department of Zoology paid the costs of maintaining them, and Chris Wilcox and her crew helped care for the turkeys when I was out of town. The Florida Museum of Natural History, University Athletic Association and Frank Maturo in

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generously allowed me to use their facilities to house the turkeys. My dad, Eduard Buchholz helped improve the turkey cages. Margaret Byrne and Gerry Ryan helped build new cages. My studies of free-living wild turkeys were done under permit from the Florida Department of Natural Resources and Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. Permits were facilitated by Dan Pearson and David Cobb. I thank them and the staffs at Paynes Prairie State Preserve and Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, particularly Jim Weimer and Jack Gillen. The National Wild Turkey Federation provided wild turkey transport boxes free of charge. Several pilot studies did not pan out in the long run. Nevertheless I would like to thank those who assisted me in these preliminary efforts. John Eisenberg kindly provided permission to conduct preliminary research at the Katharine Ordway Preserve. Peter and Denise Buchholz figured out how to catch jungle fowl on Kauai. Steve Nesbitt taught me all about sandhill cranes, shared his data and let me tag along on crane capturing trips. Marilyn Spaulding, Don Forrester and Sam Telford helped with my earliest attempts at parasitology. I hope they will continue to encourage students as they did me. At times graduate school is a very frustrating and unrewarding place. I must thank the family and friends who have supported, laughed and commiserated with me over the years and made it better. All have been instrumental in keeping me (somewhat) sane and (usually) happy. Nothing would have been possible without the love and generosity of my parents, Eduard and Elisabeth Buchholz. I hope someday they understand why I had to do this. Gratitude goes to their son Peter, who reaffirmed our brotherhood despite having chosen a different path. Thanks go to Marianne von Osten and Susan Edelbach, my "aunt" and "sister," for always welcoming me home. Special thanks go to fellow cohort member, peer advisor and buddy Laurie Eberhardt. I will miss her (boo!) and Peter. Carlita Restrepo is a kindred spirit. I thank the expatriates, Tes Toop and John Donald, for being funny, stabilizing and never dull. They tell me that in Australia Occam's razor is used to cut IV

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Gordian knots. Monica Marquez made sure I finished my NSF grant application and has always been an encouraging friend. Margaret Byrne and Gerry Ryan have been kind to me in many ways. I value my friendship with each of them and hope they figure out what they are looking for. Renee Calarco and Barbara Crute helped me get here, helped keep me here, and were always there. Maggie and Ted would not be happy about being mentioned in the same sentence, but I cherished them both. John, Tom, Bubba and Jane taught me alot about turkeys; may they rest in peace. Last, but not least, I thank the office staffs: Carol "Sweet Cheeks" Binello, Alice "Glamour Girl" McClaughry, Janet "Green Thumb" Zeigler, Lynda Everitt, Lori "Where Are You Going?" Clark, Ruth Ann Czerenda, Evelyn Rockwell, Kenetha "I've Got my Eye on You" Johnson, Tangelyn "You're Crazy" Mitchell and, of course, Gracie "Babes" Kiltie. Also thanks to Pete in the stockroom. They kept life in Bartram and Carr interesting and smoothed over the red tape. Keep up the great job! My research was funded by the Department of Zoology at the University of Florida, a Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fund Grant in Ornithology from the American Museum of Natural History, a grant-in-aid of research from Sigma Xi, the Animal Behavior Fund of the University of Florida Foundation, the Cracid Breeding and Conservation Center, and a Threadgill Dissertation Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii ABSTRACT viii CHAPTERS 1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1 2 A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ADAPTIVE SIGNIFICANCE OF FLESHY STRUCTURES IN THE GALLIFORMES 5 Hypotheses and Predictions 7 Inter-individual Assessment 7 Immediate benefits 9 Good genes models 10 Fisher's runaway selection 13 Thermoregulation 13 Fleshy structures as heat sinks 14 Solar collector 14 Methods 15 Results 18 Inter-individual Assessment 18 Immediate benefits 18 Good genes models 18 Thermoregulation 22 Fleshy structures as heat sinks 22 Solar collector 22 Discussion 22 3 ADAPTIVE FEMALE CHOICE FOR MALE FLESHY ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS 25 Introduction 25 Methods 30 Study Species 30 Mate Choice Experiments 31 Live male experiment 32 Male model experiment 37 Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males 39 Results 40 Live Males Experiment 40 Male Models Experiment 42 vi

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Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males 43 Discussion 46 4 MALE DOMINANCE AND VARIATION IN FLESHY HEAD ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS 51 Introduction 51 Methods 53 Live Males 54 Male Model Trials 56 Results 57 Live Male Trials 57 Male Model Trials 62 Discussion 62 5 THE THERMOREGULATORY ROLE OF THE UNFEATHERED HEAD AND NECK IN MALE WILD TURKEYS 66 Introduction 66 Methods 67 Subjects and Apparatuses 67 Experimental Design 69 Results 71 Discussion 79 GENERAL DISCUSSION 82 LIST OF REFERENCES 85 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 94 vn

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF FLESHY ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS AND RELATED BIRDS By Richard Buchholz August, 1994 Chairman: H. Jane Brockmann Major Department: Zoology Wattles and other types of unfeathered fleshy ornamentation in birds are puzzling to evolutionary biologists because these structures increase the bird's susceptibility to bloodfeeding insects and heat loss, without providing any obvious benefits. This study tests sexual and nonsexual hypotheses for the evolution and maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in galliform birds, particularly the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) A comparative study of the elaboration of fleshy structures in the avian order Galliformes identified the evolutionary pressures under which fleshy structures may have evolved. After controlling for the effects of body size and shared phylogeny, the lack of clear cut associations between fleshy ornamentation and other types of ornaments suggests that sexual selection has not played an important role in the evolution of these structures. Strong negative correlations with latitude, on the other hand, are supportive of a thermoregulatory role for these characters. Sexual selection for the maintenance of fleshy ornamentation was tested in mate choice and dominance trials using wild turkeys raised in captivity. If the wild turkey's viii

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fleshy structures are maintained by female choice, females are expected to mate nonrandomly with respect to these characters. Females chose males with greater snood lengths and skullcap widths. Males with longer snoods were more likely to be dominant in dyadic encounters. In complementary field studies in north central Florida, male snood length was found to be a "good genes" indicator of coccidia infection and body condition. Thus the turkey's snood appears to be maintained by female choice for males who signal their genetic quality. The extensive vascularization of fleshy ornamentation suggests that it may function in thermoregulation. By insulating the unfeathered bare heads and necks of wild turkeys, I tested whether the fleshy ornamentation of this species is important in heat dissipation. Insulated turkeys increased their oxygen consumption and experienced higher body temperatures relative to uninsulated controls. These results concur with those of the comparative study and suggest avian fleshy structures function in heat dissipation as well as sexual selection. Nonsexual hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in animals are rarely proposed, but are necessary to understand the evolution of these costly characters. IX

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CHAPTER 1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION Brightly colored plumage, large branching antlers and delicately curved horns, elaborate tails and courtship behaviors in animals seem inconsistent with our general notion of the parsimony of nature. These characters are often called "extravangant" or "ornamental" because they are particularly striking in appearance to human observers and detailed studies of their function have not been conducted. They are ornamental in the sense that they make the bearer physically more obvious without having any direct, functional purpose, such as in catching food items or digging burrows. These extravagant characters may increase the predation risks of animals that have them and likely have costs in terms of the energy needed to grow and maintain them. Despite the potentially high costs of having extravagant ornamentation, little is known of the benefits. However the dramatic physical appearance of these structures, coupled with their development at reproductive maturity or seasonally with breeding has led most authors to suggest that they have evolved via sexual selection, that is that they have some function in increasing mating success. Thus the high costs associated with ornamentation are assumed to be counterbalanced by increased reproductive success. Assumptions about the adaptive benefit of "ornamental" structures under sexual selection often make intuitive sense. Unfortunately additional hypotheses that might explain how these traits evolved over time or how they are currently maintained are rarely considered. The goal of my doctoral research is to propose and test both sexual and nonsexual hypotheses for the evolution and maintenance of a subset of avian ornamentation commonly called fleshy structures (FS).

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Combs, ceres, wattles and similar fleshy structures are widespread in the class Aves, but are particularly common in the order Galliformes (quails, pheasants, grouse, curassows, guans, megapodes). Despite the frequency of these fleshy characters, there has never been a thorough examination of their adaptive significance. First, I conduct a comparative analysis of the morphological and ecological correlates of FS in the Galliformes to test four alternative hypotheses for the evolution of these anomalous structures (Chapter 2). These hypotheses fall into two functional groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: (1) inter-individual assessment and (2) thermoregulation. After examining the interspecific correlates of fleshy ornamentation in this avian order, I evaluate these hypotheses in a local galliform, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) in subsequent chapters. Male wild turkeys are perhaps the most ornamented birds in North America. They have iridescent feathers, a hair-like beard projecting from their chest and most notably an unfeathered, bright red, white and blue head and neck. On the head and neck are three types of extravagant fleshy projections. Perhaps the most remarkable is the distensible frontal process or snood hanging over the bird's bill. At the base of the neck are large fleshy protuberances called frontal caruncles and on the side of the neck are small polyp-like fleshy structures called side caruncles. During display these fleshy structures change markedly; the snood distends and the caruncles are flushed with blood and become bright red. The association of this change with courtship suggests that these fleshy structures affect mating success. Sexual selection is divided into two subsets: female choice and male-male competition for access to females. If female choice is an important selective factor maintaining male fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys, variability in male ornamentation should affect male mating success (Chapter 3). Similarly if male-male competition is a significant selective pressure, variability in fleshy ornamentation should affect the outcome of male-male interactions (Chapter 4). Two general models of female choice for male fleshy structures are tested: "good genes" and "arbitrary preferences." Both types predict

PAGE 12

that females will exert directional selection for the more exaggerated form of male ornamentation. Good genes models propose that the character in question is assessed by females because it is an indicator of the heritable vigor of the bearer, but the arbitrary preference model predicts no such association between ornament and male viability. To investigate how wild turkey ornamentation may have evolved by female choice, the assumptions and predictions of these models must be tested. First, do females mate randomly with respect to male traits, and if not, which traits do they assess in prospective mates? Second, are the characters assessed by females particularly good indicators of the male's success in dealing with factors limiting the fitness of wild turkeys? One factor limiting fitness of males is their ability to displace other males away from females during the reproductive season. Wild turkeys are a highly polygynous species in which males attempt to restrict the access of other males to groups of females during the mating season. Thus agonistic interactions and social dominance may be important determinants of reproductive success. Females may prefer to mate with dominant males if components of dominance are heritable and will be passed on to their offspring. Subordinate males should avoid dangerous battles with dominant males if they have tittle chance of winning. Fleshy ornamentation may play a role in mutual assessment before male battles, because these structures appear to be good indicators of condition and testosterone levels in related galliform species. To see if this is the case in wild turkeys, the value of fleshy ornamentation in indicating the outcome of male-male combat is assessed. Then I ask whether males actually judge the ornamentation of other males before interacting with them. Female choice and male-male competition are not the only hypotheses that might explain the maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys. Fleshy ornamentation is highly vascularized and may be used in thermal balance, particularly at high temperatures. The value of unfeathered ornamentation in dissipating heat at high temperatures and the cost

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of an uninsulated head and neck at low temperatures is assessed by experimentally reinsulating the heads and necks of wild turkeys as though they were feathered (Chapter 5). Ornamental structures and elaborate courtship behavior patterns in animals have long puzzled evolutionary biologists. Recent work on these characters, which are often quite bizarre in appearance, suggests that these evolutionary puzzles are not always attributable to sexual selection. Natural selection can mold the specific characteristics of sexually selected characters to minimize their costs, and it can select for structures that share characteristics with sexually selected traits, but that have very practical functions outside of mate choice and male-male competition. The goal of this study is to understand the evolution and maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in galliform birds.

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CHAPTER 2 A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ADAPTTVE SIGNIFICANCE OF "FLESHY" STRUCTURES IN THE GALLIFORMES Introduction Combs, ceres, wattles, knobs, snoods and other fleshy structures are a virtually unstudied evolutionary puzzle in avian biology. These areas of bare skin, often called "fleshy" structures, are present in some members of at least 30% of bird families. In some small families, fleshy structures are found in every species (e.g., Casuariidae, Fregatidae, Callaeidae); in other larger families, fleshy structures are nearly fixed (e.g., Gruidae and Cracidae) or widespread (e.g., Phasianidae and Meliphagidae). Fleshy structures appear to be completely absent in only 1 1 of the 27 avian orders (Table 2-1). Oddly, despite the frequency of these fleshy characters and their importance to avian taxonomy, there has never been a thorough examination of their adaptive significance. FS are generally assumed to be sexual ornamentation (e.g., Welty 1975) and recent empirical studies provide strong support for both intersexual and intrasexual explanations for the maintenance of these structures (Brodsky 1988; Boyce 1990; Hillgarth 1990; Ligon et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; 1992; Holder & Montgomerie 1993). Unfortunately none of these investigations has addressed nonsexual functions for these structures. In addition no studies have addressed the costs inherent to having exposed skin. FS are a chink in the protective armor (feathers and scales) covering a bird's body surface. Exposing bare skin to a world of temperature extremes, aggressive competitors and disease-carrying insects would seem to be maladaptive. Have birds evolved these seemingly costly characters solely in the context of increased mating success?

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Table 2-1. Fleshy structures are found in 47 families in 1 1 orders in the Class Aves. • Struthioniformes Struthionidae* A Rheiformes Rheidae • Casuariiformes Casuariidae* Dromaiidae* A Apterygiformies Apterygidae A Tinamiformes Tinamidae A Sphenisciformes Spheniscidae A Gaviiformes Gaviidae A Podicipediformes Podicipedidae A Procellariiformes Diomedidae Procellaridae Hydrobatidae Pelecanoididae • Pelecaniforrnes Phaethontidae Pelecanidae* Sulidae Phalacrocoracidae* Anhingidae Fregatidae* • Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Balaenicipitidae Scopidae Ciconiidae* Threskiornitbidae* Phoenicopteridae* • Anseriformes Anhimidae Anatidae* • Falconifo nines Cathartidae* Pandionidae Accipitridae* Sagittaridae* Falconidae • Galliformes Megapodiidae* Cracidae* Pbasianidae* Opisthocomidae* • Gruiformes Mesitomithidae Tumicidae Pedionomidae Gruidae* Aramidae Psophiidae Rallidae Heliornithidae Rhynocetidae Eurypygidae Canamidae* Otididae* • Charadriiformes Jacanidae* Rostratulidae Dromadidae HaematDpodidae Ibidorhychidae Recurvirorostidae Burbinidae GlareoUdae Charadriidae Scolopacidae* Thinocoridae Chionididae* Stercorariidae Laridae Rynchopidae Alcidae* • Columbiformes PterocUdidae Columbidae* • Psittaciformes Psittacidae* Loriidae* Cacatuidae* • Cuculiformes Musophagidae* CucuUdae* A Strigiformes Tytonidae Strigidae A Caprimulgiformes Steatomitbidae Podargidae Nyctibiidae AegotheUdae Caprimulgidae A Apodiformes Apodidae Hemiproaiidae TrochUidae • Coliiformes CoUidae* A Trogoniformes Trogonidae • Coraciiformes Alcedinidae Todidae Momotidae Meropidae Coraciidae Brachypteraciidae Leptosomatidae Upupidae Phoeniculidae Bucerotidae* • Piciformes Galbulidae Bucconidae Capitonidae* Indicatoridae Ramphastidae* Picidae* • Passeriformes Eurylaimidae Dendrocolaptidae Fumariidae Formicariidae* Conopophagidae Rhinocryptidae Cotingidae* Pipridae Tyrannidae bxyruncidae Phytotomidae* Pittidae Xenicidae Philepittidae* Menuridae Atrichoraithidae Alaudidae Hinmdinidae Motacillidae Campephagidae Pycnonotidae Irenidae Laniidae Vangidae BombyciUidae Dubdae Cindidae Troglodytidae Mimidae PruneUidae Muscicapidae* AegathaUdae Remizidae Paridae Sittidae Certiidae Rhabdornithae CUmacteridae Dicaeidae Nectariniidae Zosteropidae* Melapbagidae* Emberizidae Parulidae Drepanididae Virecaiidae Icteridae* Fringillidae Estrildidae Ploceidae Sturnidae* Oriolidae* Dicnjridae Callaeidae Grallinidae Aratamidae Cracticidae Ptilonorhynchidae Paradisaeidae Corvidae Classification follows Morony et al. (1975). Field guides were examined to identify taxa with FS. All species were not examined, tbus additional taxa may possess FS. Famines without annotation lack fleshy structures; • order contains at least one species with a fleshy structure; A no fleshy structures present in representative species surveyed in each family of order; family contains at least one species that possesses a fleshy structure.

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Although it is ordinarily not possible to know the selective pressures under which any trait evolved in the past, comparative analyses of the environmental, morphological and ecological correlates of traits across species provide clues to the selective factors associated with their evolution (Clutton-Brock & Harvey 1984). I conducted such an analysis to test four alternative hypotheses for the evolution of FS in the Galliformes (quails, pheasants, grouse, curassows, guans, megapodes). Galliformes are well suited for such a study because their behavior, ecology and distributions are fairly well documented. They exhibit a diversity of FS that are familiar to anyone who has seen a domestic chicken or turkey. FS are not fleshy, that is, they contain very little muscle tissue. As used in common parlance, however, "fleshy" accurately describes the soft or pliable nature of FS. Fleshy structures (FS) vary greatly among taxa in size, shape, color and location and in their use during display (Figure 2-1). Depending on the species, intraspecific variation in the color, shape or presence of FS can be associated with sexual maturity (Hollett et al. 1984), seasonal changes (Stokkan 1979), age (Buchholz 1991) and changes in motivation (Johnsgard 1983; Franklin & Menkhorst 1988; Reichholf 1988). Consistent with the extensive variation in the external morphology of FS is a wide range of hypotheses in the literature on the adaptive functions of exposed skin in birds. These hypotheses generally fall into two major, functional groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: (1) interindividual assessment and (2) thermoregulation. In the next section, I describe these hypotheses and develop predictions for testing and distinguishing among them. Hypotheses and Predictions Inter-individual Assessment The apparent association of FS with sexual maturity suggests that they are an important form of sexual ornamentation. Several hypotheses suggest that sexual ornamentation functions in inter-individual assessment (i.e. an individual evaluates the ornaments of

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Figure 21 Diversity of fleshy structure size, shape and change during display in the Galliformes. Unfeathered areas (FS) bordered by stippling, a) and b) bare orbit and eye wattle of male Syrmaticus pheasant before and during display, respectively; c) bare orbit and dewlap of Pipile guan; d) bare head, neck and collar wattle of brush turkey, Alectura : e) bare orbit of male wood partridge, Rollulus : f) knob, cere and wattles of a male curassow, Crax : g) eye combs of male black grouse, Tetrao during display; h) and i) cere and cere, horns and throat lappet in male Tragopan before and during display, respectively.

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another individual and this information determines whether or how they interact). Traditionally, sexual selection theory has been divided into two subdisciplines: female choice and male-male competition. FS, then, may be used for assessment both by females and by other males. Females may assess a male's parental ability, his ability to provide access to resources, his genetically based viability, or other features (Johnson & Mazluff 1990). Similarly, males may use the same or different characters to assess other males prior to aggressive interactions (Borgia 1979; McKinney et al. 1990), or rarely, females. A true test of these hypotheses requires standardized studies of the mate choice and competitive behavior of each species. Instead I have assumed that if FS are subject to assessment, they will co-occur with other characters that have been shown to be subject to assessment in other species. All inter-individual assessment hypotheses assume that females prefer males with the most exaggerated FS and that males will not fight as readily with such males. Immediate benefits A male's epigamic traits may reveal direct benefits to the female such as his ability to provide parental care, to feed the female during courtship, or his dominance over good foraging areas. Female choice on these characters is favored because she and her offspring benefit directly, rather than receiving indirect benefits from increased survivorship under the good genes models discussed below (Kirkpatrick 1987). Jf FS have evolved to signal a male's ability to provide immediate benefits, then the following predictions can be made. (i) Fleshy structures will be most common and largest in breeding systems where males most commonly provide immediate benefits to the female and her young (i.e. in monogamy). (ii) Because males and females have similar variance in mating success in monogamous systems (Payne 1984), making mutual assessment more likely, the sexes can be expected to be more similar in FS size than in non-monogamous species.

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10 Good genes models If differences in general viability (e.g., health, dominance) are due to genotypic differences, females may be able to choose these "good" genes for their offspring (Andersson 1986; Heisler et al. 1987). Female choice for good genes may be especially important in systems where the male provides no care or other resources for the female or young. In this case traits that honestly advertise male condition will be chosen by females (Kodric-Brown & Brown 1984). The following hypotheses address specific viability correlates that females may use to assess males (and that other males may avoid in combatants). Parasite resistance Hamilton and Zuk (1982) proposed that FS in birds are utilized in the assessment of blood parasite burden in prospective mates. Avian blood parasites may reduce fecundity (Korpimaki et al. 1993) or survivorship (Atkinson & van Riper 1991; Bennett et al. 1993). At some stage in their life cycle, hematozoa lyse the blood or muscle cell they occupy and release merozoites (asexual sister cells that subsequendy infect other blood cells or tissues) or gametocytes (which are picked up by insect vectors during blood feeding). Red blood cell lysis or muscle impairment may result in anemia that is detectable in the color or turgidity of highly vascularized FS. The Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis can be expanded to include other parasites or parasitic mechanisms that may affect the size or color of FS. For example, intestinal coccidia infection is associated with reduced blood carotenoid levels (Ruff et al. 1974) and may affect FS pigmentation. Ligon et al. (1990) and Zuk et al. (1990b) found that infection with the intestinal nematode Ascaridia reduced comb size in male junglefowl and that females preferred males with larger combs (above a threshold size), and big combed males were more successful in male-male contests. Hillgarth (1990) found a negative correlation between coccidia burden and mating success in ringneck pheasants and showed that males that extended their face wattles fully and for long periods had higher mating success (although she does not mention a direct correlation between wattle size and parasite burden).

PAGE 20

11 Ectoparasites may also affect ornamentation and mating success. Spurrier (1991) applied pigment marks resembling hematomas caused by lice on the cervical air sacs of Sage Grouse and found that females preferred the unblemished males. Unfortunately the only measures of parasite prevalence available for most galliform species is of the blood parasites, therefore I restrict my predictions to this group. (i) Species with FS should be more susceptible to parasitic infection than non-FS species (Hamilton & Zuk 1982; Read 1987). The unidirectional nature of this prediction may seem counter intuitive. However, since female choice for resistant males may result in higher mean resistance in the next generation, the co-evolutionary nature of host-parasite interactions insures that over long periods of evolutionary time, the host will continue to be susceptible to the parasite. This is a result of adaptations by the parasite that counter the host's new defenses. (ii) Fleshy structures should be larger, more sexually dimorphic and show greater change during display in species with higher prevalences of hematozoa. Plumage brightness Female preference for brighter or more boldly plumaged males is well documented in the avian literature (Burley et al. 1982; Zuk et al. 1992; Johnson et al. 1993; Hill 1994). Brighter males may have access to more or better quality food, be less susceptible to parasites or be more dominant Alternatively females may merely prefer more brightly colored males with no naturally selected advantage, sensu Fisher (Fisher 1958). In any case, if females are choosing males based on their ornamentation, an association between plumage brightness and FS presence and size might be expected. (i) Species with FS should have brighter plumage than those lacking FS. Also FS size should be larger in brighter species. (ii) Species with FS should be more likely to have other types of ornamentation associated with reproductive displays, such as crests and elaborated tails.

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12 (iii) If sexual dimorphism in FS size can be attributed to the same selective pressure as sexual dichromatism, namely female choice, then these types of dimorphism should be positively correlated with one another. Dominance interactions If social dominance provides access to resources, females that choose dominant males may give their offspring a genetic advantage (as well as direct benefits in systems with paternal care or territoriality). If male-male competition selects for the advertisement of male quality via FS ornamentation (Borgia 1979), females merely need to select the male with the best FS. How might FS signal male dominance? Fleshy structure growth seems to be mediated by testosterone (references in Ligon et al. 1990). Testosterone has been linked with aggression in many animals and is related to dominance in some birds (Wingfield et al. 1987). Therefore dominant males with high testosterone levels may have the biggest FS. For example, in ptarmigans (Lagopus spp.) male comb size is correlated with dominance (Moss et al. 1979), testosterone injections increase comb size (Stokkan 1979), and males with bigger combs have higher mating success (Brodsky 1988). Similar correlative relationships between FS size, testosterone and dominance status are found in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus : references in Ligon et al. 1990). Presumably, intrasexual selection is a precondition for female choice for male dominance. If FS have evolved for intrasexual signalling the following predictions can be made. (i) Across species FS should be associated with systems in which male-male competition is most acute (i.e. in polygyny). (ii) Fleshy structures should be positively associated with characteristics important to male-male competition, such as sexual size dimorphism (Payne 1984) and the presence and sexual dimorphism of weapons such as tarsal spurs (Ligon et al. 1990). Other good genes models The inherent costs of FS in terms of heat loss and insect damage would suggest that these structures may serve as handicaps (Zahavi 1975; Grafen 1990a; 1990b). Handicapping traits make it more difficult for males to survive and by doing so reveal to females the males heritable vigor. Although such traits reduce average

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13 male survivorship, all the offspring of males who survive despite the handicap inherit their fathers' good genes and the sons inherit their fathers' attractive ornament as well. Unfortunately the handicap model makes no comparative predictions about FS. Fisher's runaway selection This process, called arbitrary by some authors (Kodric-Brown 1993), has no comparative predictions (Heisler et al. 1987; Buchholz 1992) because the selective agent is random female preference, unrelated to naturally selected fitness advantages and could occur under many environmental conditions. Thermoregulation The high vascularity and exposed nature of FS suggests that they may have some function in thermoregulation (Lucas & Stettenheim 1972; Crowe & Crowe 1979; Whittow 1986). Intuitively it seems that FS should increase both the evaporative and non-evaporative (radiation, convection, conduction) components of heat loss. In fact, birds lose a large amount of body heat from unfeathered or lightly feathered surfaces such as the legs (Baudinette et al. 1976) and head (Hill et al. 1980). This heat loss may be detrimental to individuals living in environments much colder than their body temperature (Whittow 1986; Gray & Price 1988). In species living in hot environments, however, heat loss from the head may be essential to general homeostasis. Specific vascular adaptations may facilitate heat loss to protect heat sensitive tissues. For example, a counter current heat exchange system around the eye, the rete mirable opthalmica is thought to keep the brain cooler than the deep body temperature in some birds (Whittow 1986). Alternatively, vascularization near the exterior of the animal may aid in the collection of solar heat when the surrounding air temperature is low (Henneman 1988). Thus FS could function in thermoregulation in two ways: (a) heat dissipation and (b) heat absorbtion.

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14 Fleshy structures as heat sinks Crowe's (Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979b; Withers et al. 1980) studies of behavior and FS variation in the helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris) show that wattle size in this species is positively correlated with maximum daily temperature across its broad geographic range. Biotelemetric measurements of the brain temperature of captive subjects show that these birds maximally exposed FS in warm ambient temperatures and reduced total thermal conductance by retracting them in cold temperatures. If FS have evolved for this purpose, these predictions follow. (i) Fleshy structures should be more likely to occur and FS size should be larger in species living at lower altitudes and latitudes. As species ranges get further from the equator they have less need for dissipating heat (ii) Similarly sexual dimorphism in FS size should be reduced in species living at lower altitudes and latitudes. As species ranges approach the equator, it becomes equally important for both sexes to lose excess body heat. (iii) Change in FS size during display should be more pronounced nearer the equator if these structures are used to dissipate the excess body heat generated by energetically active display. Solar collector To maintain body temperature during cool conditions, FS may be used to absorb heat from the environment instead of increasing metabolic activity (Burtt 1986). The predictions of this hypothesis are the reverse of those for the Heat Sink hypothesis above. (i) Fleshy structure occurrence and size should be positively correlated with upper latitudinal and altitudinal limits of species. (ii) Because it should be equally important for both sexes to collect radiation in colder areas, sexual dimorphism in FS should be negatively correlated with altitude and latitude (iii) Because intraspecific studies show that FS size changes only during sexual displays and not outside of this context, it is unlikely that size change is important to

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15 collecting solar radiation. Therefore there should be no relationship between FS size change and latitude or altitude. Methods Despite the extreme variation in shape and usage of FS, they share certain attributes and can be divided into three broad categories: (1) sparsely feathered thin skin without distinctive coloring (e.g., the lores of hawks); (2) thickened bare skin with or without distinctive coloring (e.g., the orbital ring in some parrots); and (3) projections of thickened, brightly colored skin (e.g., a chicken's comb). Lumping these three types of structures under a single heading may be somewhat unnatural, since bird species may have very different reasons for exposing their skin. However, so little is known about the morphology, associations and functions of these variable structures that I think this phenomenon warrants an initial investigation at a broader level. Therefore, to identify patterns in the function of exposed skin, I initially lump these structures. Using literature accounts I collected information on the presence, size, sexual dimorphism and size change during display of FS, and on the upper, lower, and mid altitudinal and latitudinal limits, body size and sexual dimorphism, mating system, presence of spurs, blood parasite prevalence, and plumage showiness (or "brightness," sensu Hamilton & Zuk 1982) and sexual dichromatism of 279 species of Galliformes in three families (Cracidae, Megapodiidae, Phasianidae). Fleshy structures and plumage characteristics were determined from plates and photos in monographs (Delacour & Amadon 1973; Johnsgard 1983; 1986; 1988), a variety of field guides, individual accounts and personal observations. The FS size of resting males was ranked on a scale of 0-5 relative to head size. The ranking of FS size relative to head size in all species prevents any bias in the results where the FS in question may have been used to establish the underlying taxonomy. Sexual dimorphism in FS size was ranked on a scale of 0-2. Fleshy structure size change during display was ranked on a scale of 0-5. Plumage brightness was ranked

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16 on a scale of 0-5. Sexual size dimorphism was calculated as the average male mass divided by the average female mass. Mating system was ranked on a scale of 1-3 based on the degree of polygyny thought to commonly occur in each species. The average number of spurs on males of each species (Davison 1985) was included in the analysis as a measure of male-male competition. Sexual dimorphism in spur number was measured as the female value subtracted from the male value. Maximum and minimum altitudinal limits were collected from species accounts and latitudinal limits were estimated from range maps. Blood parasite prevalences (proportion of sampled individuals found to be infected) were collected from regional surveys or reviews (Oosthuizen & Markus 1967; 1969; Greiner et al. 1975, Ashford et al. 1976; Bennett & Herman 1976; Wink & Bennett 1976; McClure et al. 1978; White et al. 1978; Peirce 1981). Recently a number of new cladistic methods that control for the nonindependence of data points due to shared phylogeny have been developed for comparative studies (Harvey & Pagel 1991). Many of these assume a "true" phylogeny of the organisms under study. Unfortunately the phylogeny of the Galliformes does not meet this condition because it is in constant flux (Randi et al. 1991) and has had very few molecular studies at lower branch points. The comparative technique I used controls for the effects of shared phylogeny by averaging measurements within nested taxonomic subsets (i.e. averaging the species within each genus, then genera within tribes) and examining the correlations of these averages at each of these taxonomic levels. Pagel and Harvey (1988) have suggested conducting statistical analyses of these data at the single taxonomic level that subsumes the most variance. In the gaUiform data set analyzed here, most of the variance in FS characteristics is found at the tribe or family level. The decision rule proposed by Pagel and Harvey has drawbacks when comparative associations are studied within one avian order because sample sizes are considerably reduced at higher taxonomic levels. Statistics cannot be employed with only three values at the family level and low sample sizes at the tribe level carry with them a high risk of type II error; the inability to detect significant relationships

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17 between variables when they exist. Therefore, I adopt a more exploratory approach and present the associations found between variables at all three taxonomic levels considered: species, genus and tribe. Correlational relationships found only at all lower taxonomic levels (e.g., across species) may be artifacts of shared phylogeny rather than the products of unique evolutionary events. Correlations at higher levels may not be significant because of small sample size. However those correlations that retain statistical significance across all taxonomic levels probably represent strong adaptive relationships. The hypotheses presented for the evolution of FS were tested statistically in three ways. First I compared taxa with FS to those lacking these structures. The occurrence of FS was tested in a contingency table constructed from the number of taxa above and below the median of the pertinent independent variable and the presence or absence of FS. Second the factors associated with the elaboration of FS in species that had them were also tested in a contingency table. Fleshy structure size and the independent variables were divided into two groups at the median. Third the strength of association between three FS characteristics (FS size, dimorphism and display change) and the independent variables were tested with non-parametric correlation analysis (Spearman rank correlation). Sample sizes vary with the availability of data for each variable. The data set lacked complete information for most of the megapodes, and therefore these species are poorly represented by the results. At the species level, FS size was strongly correlated with body mass. To remove correlations between variables caused by their shared correlation with mass, residual values generated by regressing each variable with body mass were used in all the analyses. This approach assumes that the effect of natural or sexual selection on FS characteristics is direct and not mediated by body size. It was not possible to test predictions relating to sexual size dimorphism because this variable is calculated from a ratio with male mass as the denominator. In the contingeny analyses of the occurrence of FS this resulted in about half of the FS with a rank of one being included in the "FS absent" row. Finally, latitude and altitude were positively correlated with one another and showed similar associations in most

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18 tests, so for the sake of brevity results given only for latitude. Except where noted latitude refers to the mid-point of the species' range. Results Inter-individual Assessment Immediate benefits FS were more common and more elaborate in non-monogamous mating systems. However after the effects of body size were removed, there was no difference in the occurrence or size of FS between monogamous and non-monogamous taxa (Table 2-2 and 2-3). Sexual dimorphism in FS size was significandy reduced in monogamous species. Good genes models Fleshy structures were not more common or larger in more showy species. However, sexual dimorphism in FS size was positively correlated with sexual dichromatism (Table 23). Species with elaborate tails were more likely to have FS at the tribe level. Fleshy structures were not significandy more common in polygynously mating species, nor did FS size increase with number of spurs or the degree of spur dimorphism. Although sexual dimorphism in FS size at the species level was significandy greater in species with above median spur dimorphism, this relationship did not persist at higher taxonomic levels. The occurrence and elaboration of FS was positively correlated with sexual size dimorphism, but this relationship is probably due the fact that more dimorphic species are also larger species.

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19 Table 2-2. Occurrence of FS in galliforms relative to predictions of hypotheses for the evolution of these structures. Hypotheses and Species Level Genus Level Tribe Level Predictions X 2 (N) X 2 (N) U (N) Tmm^iate Benefits 33+ (204) 0.0 (43) -2.3* (8) FS more common in monogamy Pa rasite Resistance q.3 (52) 3.1+ (20) "9 ( 8 ) FS more common in taxa with high prevalence Plvftnaffft Brightness 2.4 (204) 3.2+ (43) ^ FS more common in brightly colored taxa FS more common in 2.O (204) 0.0 (43) ~ 2 3 ^ taxa with elaborate tails FS more common in q.O (202) 2.3 (42) "* 3 ^ taxa with elaborate crests Dominance Interactions FS more common in 3 3& + (204) 0.0 (43) ~ 2 -3 a ^ polygyny FS more common in 2 8 a+ (204) 01 ( 48 ) ~ 1,2 spurred taxa FS more common in 3 ( 43) -0.3 (8) taxa sexually D ^ VH) dimorphic for spurs HsaLSink 6.4* (48) -2-3* (8) FS more common rn **./ \iyv> taxa with lower minimum latitudal limits -7 1 nQtt 6.8** (48) -1.7 + (9) Snlar Collector 2A ( 1% ) FS more common in taxa with higher maximum latitudal limits + 09>P>0.05; 0.05>P>0.01; ** 0.01>P>0.001; a significant, but in opposite direction; nearly significant, but in opposite direction. Probabilities are for two-tailed tests.

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22 Thermoregulation Fleshy structures as heat sinks. Fleshy structure size was negatively correlated with latitude, and sexual dimorphism in FS size was positively correlated with latitude; that is, FS got smaller and more sexually dimorphic at higher latitudes (Tables 2-3). The degree of change in FS size during display was predicted to be greatest nearest the equator; however, the opposite relationship was obtained. Display change in FS size increased significantly with latitude. Solar collector Species with higher latitudinal limits were not more likely to have FS, nor did they have smaller and more sexually dimorphic FS (Tables 2-2 and 2-3). In addition there was a positive correlation between maximum latitude and FS size change during display at the genus level. As the minimum latitudinal limits of a species increases, females become less likely to have FS and males become more likely to reveal the full extent of their FS size only during display. Discussion Despite the many intraspecific studies demonstrating the importance of FS to interindividual assessment, a comparative analysis did not find much support for this hypothesis as an explanation for the evolution of FS across galliform species. This result must be interpreted with caution because the expected correlates of inter-individual assessment processes (e.g., plumage brightness or spur number) are themselves only hypothesized correlates of female choice and male-male competition based on intraspecific studies. A true test of this hypothesis would necessitate standardized studies of the mate choice and competitive behavior of each species. Instead I have assumed that if FS are subject to assessment, they will co-occur with other characters that have been shown to be subject to assessment in other species. The veracity of this assumption may depend on what is being assessed (Sullivan 1994). Additionally it was not possible to include other characters that

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23 may be correlated with female choice, such as intestinal parasite prevalences. Even though FS size was not correlated with the other measures of ornamentation, sexual dimorphism in FS size was positively correlated with plumage dimorphism. This finding suggests that the factors controlling these variables are the same. Because plumage dimorphism is generally attributed to female choice for male brightness, sexual dimorphism in FS size may also be explained by this selective pressure. FS characteristics were strongly associated with the latitudinal distributions of species, even after controlling for body mass. Fleshy structures were more common, larger and more similar between the sexes in species nearer the equator. These results are consistent with a heat dissipation function for FS, in congruence with intraspecific studies (Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979; Withers & Crowe 1980). Alternatively the inverse correlation between size and latitude might be the result of the increased thermoregulatory costs of having bare skin in colder regions. The increase in display change at higher latitudes is also consistent with a cold-limiting rather than a heat-dissipation explanation. However if cold temperatures limit FS size across species, one might expect that FS occurrence and elaboration would be most strongly correlated with the maximum latitudinal limit rather than the minimum limit This is not the case, suggesting that FS actively function in dissipating metabolic heat in species living in warm climates. Studies of sexual selection often neglect to propose and test nonsexual hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in birds and other taxa. Balmford et al. (1993) have suggested that an ignorance of aerodynamics has led evolutionary biologists to attribute incorrectly all long bird tails to evolution by sexual selection. They argue that some types of long tails are not burdensome nor aerodynamically costly and thus would not make good indicators of male condition. Similarly characters that were assumed to be maintained solely for social signalling, such as the bushy tails of ground squirrels (Bennett et al. 1984) or the ultrasound emissions of some rodents (Thiessen 1979), or for quite mundane purposes like feeding, such as the flattened bill of most ducks (Hagan & Heath 1980), may

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24 also be maintained as a result of their thermoregulatory functions. Considering alternative or congruent hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamental characters provides a better understanding of how seemingly extravagant characters can be quite functional in a practical sense. Unfortunately in the absence of an accurate, detailed phylogeny it is impossible to determine if FS first evolved for heat dissipation or in sexual selection. Comparative studies of the probable ancestral states of ornamentation and behavior have provided unique insight into how sexually selected characters first come under assessment by females (Basolo 1990; Hill 1994). Similar studies of ornamental characters with both sexually selected and naturally selected hypotheses in mind may provide a better understanding of how extravagant characters can evolve despite their apparent costs. Fleshy structures differ from other forms of ornamentation in many ways. They are living integumentary outgrowths and thus have inherent costs that other nonliving forms of ornamentation, such as big tails or long spurs, do not possess. Similarly the highly vascularized nature of FS makes them more likely to be functional outside of the realm of reproduction. Therefore, they are uniquely suited for identifying the conflicting forces of sexual and natural selection that produce different suites of elaboration in separate populations of the same or closely related species (Endler 1983; Kodric-Brown 1990). A recognition among empiricists and theoreticians that ornamental structures may have multiple beneficial functions, such as the apparent heat dissipation value of FS, the thermoregulatory values of squirrel tails, ultrasonic emissions and duck bills, may advance our understanding of the evolution of extravagant characters.

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CHAPTER 3 ADAPTIVE FEMALE CHOICE FOR MALE FLESHY STRUCTURES IN WILD TURKEYS Introduction The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a familiar example of a sexually dimorphic species exhibiting an array of extravagant behavioral and morphological characters that serve no obvious useful function other than to attract mates. Males weigh more than twice as much as females and have iridescent feathers, a large fan-like tail, a long hair-like beard projecting from their chest, tarsal spurs and an unfeathered head and neck. The unfeathered neck is covered with pebble-like red bumps called side caruncles, that may fuse to form horizontal bands of bumpy skin (Figure 3-1). At the base of the front of the neck are three or four roughly elliptical pillow-like outgrowths called frontal caruncles. The skullcap on the crown of the head has thickened skin that ranges in color from red to white and light blue and appears to change depending on the motivational state of the animal. Perhaps most striking is a distensible process at the base of the upper bill called the snood. Finally a thin dewlap stretches from beneath the lower mandible down to the frontal caruncles. This extravagantly ornamented bird is uniquely suited to testing models of female choice because it is a highly polygynous species and males associate with females only for mating and never provide care for their offspring. Although we cannot be sure by which selective process any one of the turkey's many ornaments has evolved during the history of this species, the evolutionary history of a character can be inferred by examining the selective pressures maintaining such characters in the present By testing the mating preferences of captive female wild turkeys and 25

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26 Figure 3-1. Unfeathered head ornamentation of mature male wild turkey: a) skullcap; b) relaxed snood; c) dewlap; d) frontal caruncles; e) side caruncles.

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27 examining the correlates of the preferred types of ornamentation in wild males, I investigate how female choice may be maintaining the extravagant ornamentation of male wild turkeys. Hypotheses of indirect benefits of female choice fall into two types: good genes and arbitrary preferences. Both types predict that females will exert directional selection for the more exaggerated form of male ornamentation (i.e. they prefer bigger, brighter, louder, etc. forms of the trait). Good genes models propose that the character in question is assessed by females because it is an indicator of the heritable vigor of the bearer. Male vigor or viability is a measure of a male's ability to survive acute or chronic factors that limit fitness. There are two principal types of good genes hypotheses. The handicap model (Grafen 1990a; Zahavi 1975) proposes that ornamentation reduces average male survival enabling females to assess any individual male's ability to survive despite his burdensome ornament. In this case females that choose to mate with more highly ornamented males have higher fitness because of the increased survivorship of their female offspring, who carry the male's superior survival genes but do not express the sex-limited genes for handicapping ornamentation. Male offspring who have genes for the attractive handicap experience increased mating success in addition to increased survivorship. In the other type of good genes models, females are assessing male ornamentation because it specifically indicates a second, less visible trait determining male fitness. Hamilton and Zuk (1982) propose that females assess the quality of male ornamentation because these characters are particularly good indicators of the parasite burden of the bearer. In the parasite-assessment model, females benefit from choosing the more ornamented males because their offspring will inherit the male's ability to avoid deleterious infection. In similar models, the male's foraging success (Kodric-Brown 1989) or age (Manning 1985; 1989) is honestly indicated by his ornamentation. Arbitrary preference models, on the other hand, hypothesize that the character reveals nothing of the abilities or heritable vigor of the male but is nonetheless preferred by females. Fisher's (1958) theory of runaway selection proposed that an initial female

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28 preference for a male character that came about by natural selection or genetic drift could become genetically linked to the male trait, resulting in elaboration of the trait beyond its original utility. Similarly other authors (Kirkpatrick 1987; Enquist & Arak 1993) suggest that specific attributes of male characters, such as color, shape or frequency, elaborate over evolutionary time because they more effectively stimulate existing biases in the sensory system of the female. In these models male offspring of females exercising an arbitrary preference have greater reproductive success due to the character they inherit Because the arbitrary preference model is empirically distinguishable only by the absence of a correlation between the male character and measures of male viability, it proves difficult to test The arbitrary preference model remains a default or null hypothesis in studies where a female preference is detected but the adaptive reason for the preference is not explained by the good genes model (Buchholz 1991). The only way to distinguish between the good genes and arbitrary models of female choice, when it is not possible to monitor the next generation, is by examining the relationship between variation in ornamentation and variation in male viability. Extensive research on the factors limiting population size in wild turkeys suggests three major selective pressures: diseases and parasites, predation, and weather (Dickson 1992). Population surveys have detected over 100 species of viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoal, metazoal and arthropod parasites that may limit the fitness of turkeys (Davidson & Wentworth 1992). Although the impact of most of these parasites on their hosts is unknown, experimental studies using domestic or captive wild turkeys have suggested that a poxvirus (Forrester 1991), a proventricular nematode (Hon et al. 1975; 1978), and blood parasites (Forrester et al. 1974; 1980; Atkinson et al. 1988) have the most severe impact on host survival, particularly of juveniles. High levels of predation on nests and on nesting or brooding females is well documented (Miller & Leopold 1992). Finally weather conditions in the northern areas of the wild turkey's range affect survivorship and fecundity. Populations subject to deep snow can suffer widespread starvation and mortality

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29 approaching 60% (Healy 1992b). Food limitation during winter is probably not limited to the northern areas of the wild turkey's distribution. A twenty-fold increase in visits to artificial feeders during Jan-March suggests that winter food may be limited in Florida as well (Powell 1965). How might females detect males that are superior in their abilities to cope with these factors? The handicap model predicts that females will prefer ornaments that reduce male survival. These might be characters that make males more subject to predation, invite challenge from competitors or increase the risk of starvation. To test the handicap principle of ornamentation, experimental manipulation of the quality of male ornamentation of wild individuals would be necessary. Because a test of the handicap model is beyond the scope of this study, I do not discuss the predictions of this hypothesis further. However anecdotal evidence addressing this hypothesis is presented in the discussion. Since parasites are a ubiquitous problem for wild turkeys, the Hamilton and Zuk (1982) theory of mate choice as an adaptation against parasitism seems a plausible explanation for the maintenance of FS in this species. If turkey hens are using male ornamentation to assess parasite burden, the intensity of infection by the most deleterious parasites should be inversely correlated with the quality of male ornamentation that females are using to choose a mate. To be favored by females, these ornaments should be better indicators of parasite burden than other anatomical structures, such as bill or tarsus length. Adult male wild turkeys begin their energetic courtship displays in early spring, often while snow remains on the ground, relying on their fat reserves for sustenance (Pelham & Dickson 1992). If the ability to access food and store energy for surviving winter snow storms is an important determinant of survival as previous research suggests, females may use the quality of a male's display as an indication of stored energy reserves. If this is the case, female choice should rely heavily on the most energetic parts of the male display and on any other characters that might be indicative of fat reserves, such as body condition.

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30 Age is perhaps the most honest indicator of good genes. Males that survive despite parasites, predators, and food shortages have demonstrated their superior ability merely by remaining alive. Thus females may choose mates based on ornamentation that reliably reveals male age. Although beard length and body weight are positively correlated with age, spur length is thought to be the best indicator of yearly age classes in eastern wild turkeys (M g. silvestris : Kelly 1975; Steffen et al. 1990). This suggests that females should choose to mate with males with longer spurs. The arbitrary preference models for the evolution of male ornamentation predict no relationship between ornamentation and male survival or condition. If the characters chosen by females are not related to any of the factors that limit turkey survival or fecundity, it seems reasonable to conclude that they are maintained purely by the increased mating success of the male without any direct increase in the reproductive success of the female. I test these hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in wild turkeys with experimental data collected from captive mate-choice trials and correlational data collected from wild caught males. Methods Study Species Day-old wild turkey poults were purchased in May 1991 from a gamefarm (L&L Pheasantry, Hegins, PA, USA) whose large breeder flock continued to experience gene flow from wild males (M gsilvestris ) until a decade ago. Poults were raised indoors under heat lamps with gamebird starter feed (Purina Startena, 30% protein) and water provided M libitum After eight weeks the birds were transferred to a large (5.3m x 5.3m x 2.6m) outdoor pen at the Florida Museum of Natural History's Special Projects Laboratory. After 14 weeks of age, males were maintained separately from the females in two visually isolated groups of 16 in sand-floored aviaries (5.3m x 5.3m x 2.6m). Females were moved to a cement-floored pen (5m x 12m x 4m) that was visually isolated from the

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31 males. To minimize wastage only as much feed (Purina Grower or Maintenance, 19 or 12% protein) as could be consumed in 3-4 hours was provided daily, varying seasonally. Additionally a variety of green forage (e.g., cut grass, bamboo leaves, etc.) was provided twice a week. Water was available ad lib. Very limited displaying observed during pilot studies in early 1992 was attributed to suppression by dominant males in the relatively crowded, group housing. To alleviate this problem all males were housed individually in cylindrical wire cages (1.3 m in diameter and lm high) at 15 months of age. Black plastic dividers prevented males from physically interacting with males in neighboring pens, although they could see and hear other males in pens 4 m away. Each male was fed approximately 0.5 1 of breeder rations (Purina Layena, 20% protein) daily, along with occasional peanuts, wild bird seed, or carrot or apple slices. Water was provided in 0.5 1 containers and was replaced daily. Mate Choice Experiments To investigate how wild turkey ornamentation may have evolved by female choice it is necessary to test the assumptions and predictions of the good genes and arbitrary preference models. First do females mate randomly with respect to male traits, and if not, which traits do they assess in prospective mates? Second are the characters assessed by females particularly good indicators of the male's success in dealing with factors limiting the fitness of wild turkeys? The mating preferences of female wild turkeys were tested in two experiments. In the Live Male experiment, females were given a choice between two naturally displaying males. The characteristics of males chosen by females were compared to the characteristics of males not chosen by females to identify the characters correlated with female choice. The Male Model experiment gave females a choice between two artificial males that differed only in the amount of head ornamentation. The model experiment ensures that the character

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32 thought to be assessed by females in the live male experiment is not merely the correlate of another unmeasured character actually under assessment by females. Live male experiment Live males Thirty-three, 20-month old males were exposed to an artificial photoperiod of 14 hours for four weeks prior to and during the mate choice tests. Prior to the mate choice trials, males were classified as "displayers" or "nondisplayers" based on whether they strutted consistently during a half hour observation period on each day of the week before the first trials. During the trials no "nondisplayers" became "displayers," but the reverse was true. The 1 1 males classified as consistent displayers were used in the mate choice trials. Seven ornamental characters were measured prior to the first trial. Relaxed snood length was measured from the point of attachment at its base to the tip with a small ruler. The snood was measured again after being stretched by attaching a clip to the tip of the snood and pulling on the clip with a Pesola scale to a tension of 30 g. The maximum vertical and horizontal diameter of each frontal caruncle, as well as its thickness, was measured with a ruler. The radii of the frontal caruncles was converted to an approximation of total caruncle area using the equation for the area of an ellipse (A=abrc). The red, polyplike projections on the neck called side caruncles were counted. The width of each half of the thickened, whitish skullcap was measured by placing the ruler in a line from the most posterior point at which the skullcap halves meet along the middle of the cranium to a point dorsal to the middle of the eye. The beard was measured from where the "hairs" leave the skin to its greatest length. Briefly, tarsal spur length was measured from where the spur enters the scaled skin to the distal tip (Kelly 1975). Tarsus length was measured from the articulation of the tarsometatarsus with the tibiotarsus to the third scute of the central phalange of the foot Weight divided by tarsus length was used as an index of male body condition and is referred to as such or merely as male condition.

PAGE 42

33 Females Twenty-three, 20-month old female wild turkeys were exposed to an artificial photoperiod of 14 hours for four weeks prior to, and during, the mate choice tests in January-March 1993. Experimental design The large cage used for housing the females was subdivided into three sections to serve as a mate choice arena (Figure 3-2a). The female flock was housed in one half of the aviary during the experiment Each female was admitted singly to the choice area through a door in the opaque plastic barrier that prevented the untested females from seeing the displays of the males or the choices made by subject females. An additional opaque barrier prevented the males from directly interacting with one another. The subject female was separated from the males by hardware cloth that had been painted black to make it less visible. Each female was tested only once and was presented with a unique pairing of males that was never presented to any other female. In total 1 1 males were used 2-4 times each (mean= 3.3); there was not a significant correlation between the number of times each male was presented and the frequency of female choice (Spearman Rank Correlation, r s =0.51, P= 0.14). Males were assigned to the two display areas randomly on the afternoon before the trial. Only one trial was conducted in any 24 hr period from 14 Jan-12 March 1993, between 08:00-16:00 hrs. During the ten minute pretrial period before the female was admitted, the frequency of spontaneous strutting by each male and the degree of snood distention (on a scale of 0-4) were recorded. Snood distention was recorded again immediately after the female was admitted and strutting frequency was recorded until the female solicited one of the males. Females revealed their choice of mate by "crouching" (Healy 1992a), a conspicuous mating solicitation posture exhibited in front of the chosen male. The time spent by the female in front of each male was also recorded until solicitation. Trials in which females did not solicit within 30 min were excluded from analysis. The two males from a failed trial were tested again with a new female the next day.

PAGE 43

34 Holding Area FEMALE Live Male 1 Live Male 2 B Male Model 1 Male Model 2 FEMALE Figure 3-2. Mate choice arenas. A) Female is admitted from a holding area to the choice area where she has a choice of two displaying males; B) A female is given the choice of soliciting one of two artificial males that differ only in their snood length and side caruncle number. Screen divider between males and female is represented by thin line.

PAGE 44

35 Data analysis The characters correlated with female mate choice were determined by comparing the characteristics of the male solicited with those of the male not solicited in each trial. Wilcoxon matched pairs signed-rank tests were used with characters that were independent of other characters (Siegel, 1956). However some of the measurements of male ornamentation covaried strongly with each other and with tarsus length (Table 3-1), making it difficult to tease apart the relative contribution of these characters to mate choice. Principal component factor analysis was used to isolate independent axes of variation in the correlation matrix of the five most highly covarying characters (tarsus length, spur length, skull cap width, stretched snood length and frontal caruncle area). Frontal caruncle area was transformed by log (x) 5 when combined with linear measurements in the factor analysis. Subsequently these axes were transformed (i.e. rotated) using the varimax solution to generate four orthogonal axes on which the variables were loaded as uniquely as possible (Table 3-2). These axes provided four sets of independent axis scores, each set composed largely of only one character unlike the strongly covarying raw data, that could be used to determine which of these five characters was most important to a female's choice of males. For each trial the differences between the scores of the males presented to the female were calculated by subtracting the score of the male not chosen from that of the male that was chosen. If females chose males at random with respect to these characters, the distribution of the differences between preferred and not preferred males would be expected to have a mean of zero. A positive mean is expected if females are choosing males with the larger or greater forms of these characters as hypothesized. Because females were used only once, male pairings were unique in every trial and the difference between male characters was used in the analyses. This means that each trial was independent despite the fact that most males were used more than once. Data analysis utilized the "Spin" abilities of SASjmp (SAS Institute Inc. 1989) and the general statistics of Statview (Abacus Concepts

PAGE 45

36 OS O >n o .a Oh ono\ O COO h'o'o OVO(NM o >o i— i — i ^H OP o o a T3 2 OS *s § CO as -a 8) o op o • OO50 rn o O O O .52 o O ren cs r~ *-' o ' o m >n tjc\i >n o> o oo i— i co i— i "* cs n'odddoo ovoooncs^omcs Tj--^-OCN'-H'<* 1-H* 5o*a £ 2 t— ( 1/3 o .2 (U 3 2P 93 CD I ocot-^ncoooooM"O^HTj-TtinrOCS-<*0'-i ^h' ''' q^^vooow-icscoioco-^-vo on so vo co Tf >-; <-<''' '''' p"' os 3 05 U OS !_ tc o o au in 13 9 *-> ili.lliil'sli £ 2 T3 o o c OS -J* 2 a OS 3 "O a s< o 03 C •A -2 2 GO tS

PAGE 46

37 Inc. 1986). Where appropriate, mean values in the results are followed by the standard error of those measurements. Male model experiment Male models Each female was admitted singly to an arena (Figure 3-2b) in which she had a choice of interacting with either of two artificial males modified from plastic hunting decoys of hens. These models were altered in the following ways to make them appear like strutting males. The heads of the two decoys were painted simultaneously with alternating brush strokes of enamel paint so that they resembled one another as closely as possible. The skullcap was painted a light blue, the orbital area a dark blue, the dewlap and throat were painted red, the sides and back of the neck were painted pink with narrow red rings applied around the circumference. Natural beards were removed from two domestic turkey gobblers. Each beard was divided in two, with equal numbers of "hairs," and then these were trimmed to 17 cm in length and applied to the models. The decoys have a closed tail, typical of a resting bird. However strutting males have a fanned tail. Two artificial fans were constructed from colored poster board, glue and black permanent marker. The vertical diameter of the tail was 33 cm and the horizontal radius was 69 cm. The fanned tails were positioned just behind the wing tips of the decoys and held in place from behind with two thin wooden dowels that were stuck in the ground to stabilize the tail. The models themselves were mounted on a wooden dowel so that their backs were at a height of 0.65 m. Strutting turkeys drag the primary feathers of their wings on the ground, but I made no attempt to simulate this posture; the models had their wings in the normal resting position on their sides. To provide the sound of strutting, a recording of a single strut from a commercially available video (Griffen Productions 1990) was played back alternately between the males so that each male model "strutted" four times per minute. One small 5 watt speaker was placed to the side and behind each male and aimed towards the area immediately in front of the male. Using the individual volume controls on the speakers and a Tandy sound meter, I

PAGE 47

38 was able to ensure that the amplitude of the struts were equal (73 db) at a point 0.75 m immediately in front of each male. The male models were identical in coloration, tail size, beard length and display frequency. To test whether the most variable types of fleshy head ornamentation seen in live males affect mate choice, it was necessary to construct artificial snoods and caruncles for the artificial males. Four snoods (two 4.0 cm long, two 6.6 cm long), 14 side caruncles (1.2 cm x 1.9 cm x 1 cm) and four frontal caruncles (2 cm in diameter) were constructed from latex caulking. The snoods were painted as above so that they were bluish pink, the caruncles of both types were painted red. These were applied with small pieces of doublesided tape so that one male model was "more ornamented", i.e. given a long snood coupled with 5 caruncles on each side of his neck, while the "less ornamented" male was given the shorter snood and only two caruncles on each side of his neck. Both males had two frontal caruncles placed side by side at the base of the front of their necks. Only snood length and side caruncle number were varied because these characters were the most variable in wildcaught males. One or more of the bodies, tails, beards, snoods or caruncles were exchanged between the models after each trial and the position of the more ornamented male was randomized. Thus female preference could be attributed to the only consistent difference between the males: snood length and side caruncle number. Females Twenty-three 17-month old female wild turkeys were implanted with a 21 day-release pellet of 25 mg of estradiol (Innovative Research of America, Toledo, OH, USA) on 3 Dec. 1992. After 10 days, when most females were exhibiting sexual behavior, mate choice trials were conducted. Experimental design. Male model trials were conducted between 08:00-16:00 h from 13 Dec-15 Dec 1992. The playback of the strut recording was started before each female was admitted singly to the arena via a remotely opened door. Starting the moment the female stepped into the middle of the arena from the waiting area, I recorded the amount

PAGE 48

39 of time she spent in each model's half of the arena. A trial ended when the female solicited or after 20 min had passed. Each female was tested only once. Data analysis If females chose mates at random with respect to male snood length and caruncle number, an equal number of more ornamented and less ornamented males should be solicited. However if females prefer males with the more elaborate form of these traits, the more ornamented male should be solicited significantly more often. A Binomial test (Siegel 1956) was used to test the statistical significance of the results. Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males Free-living male wild turkeys were captured and measured to determine if male ornamentation serves as a good indicator of male viability. Yearling male wild turkeys were captured with bait drugged with alpha chloralose (Williams & Austin 1988) at Paynes Prairie State Preserve in Alachua Co., Florida, USA between February and March of 1991 and 1992. Ornamentation was measured as described above for captive males, with the exception of skullcap width, which was not measured. Drugged birds were kept indoors in boxes specially designed for transporting wild turkeys until they had recovered sufficiently for safe release (24-96 hr). The number of attached ticks on the head and neck and on the undersides of both wings were counted. In addition the lice on the feathers of the chest, back and rump were counted by lifting and scanning the feathers of each region for two minutes. Blood smears were made from each individual using blood collected with a heparinized capillary tube from the alar vein. The smears were air dried, fixed in 100% methanol, and stained. Blood parasite burden was measured as the number of blood cells infected with hematozoa seen per 30 minutes of scanning under oil immersion at lOOx. Fecal samples were collected 3x a day from the boxes of the recovering birds. One gram from each sample was mixed with 20 ml of a saturated NaN03 solution and filtered through cheese cloth into a centrifuge tube. The tube was filled to the very top so that a coverslip placed on the tube opening

PAGE 49

40 would remain adhered there during the subsequent 5 minutes of centrifugation at 1500 rpm. During centrifugation most parasite "eggs" either float to the top and adhere to the coverslip or sink to the bottom, depending on their specific gravity. After centrifugation the coverslip was placed on a microscope slide and thoroughly scanned. Parasite eggs were identified and counted directly or when present in very large numbers, estimated with the use of a McMaster's slide. There are at least 6 species of eimerian coccidia that infect turkeys (Davidson & Wentworth 1992). Unfortunately, these species are difficult to identify and could only be categorized as having large or small oocysts in this study. The sediment of each centrifuge tube was throughly examined for trematode and other eggs under a dissecting microscope. Additional measures of ornamentation and blood smears were collected from eight hunter-killed wild turkeys at Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, Florida, in March 1990. Results Live Males Experiment Eighteen of the 23 females tested signalled their choice of mates by soliciting copulation from one of the two males presented in each trial. Traits of males solicited and not solicited are compared in Table 3-3. Females strongly preferred males with comparatively higher scores on the second rotated component, i.e. those with longer snoods and wider skullcaps (unpaired t-test, one-tailed, v =17, mean=1.01, t=3.65, P=0.001). The length of the male's snood during display, the character state actually visible for assessment by females, was strongly correlated with the relaxed and stretched snood measurements (r s =0.80, n=l 1, P=0.01; r s =0.75, n=l 1, P=0.02, respectively). The other variables that loaded on the first, third and fourth axes: tarsus length, frontal caruncle area and spur length, respectively, did not account for female choice of males (t-tests, one-tailed, P>0.05). Characters analyzed individually, i.e. pre-trial strut rate, trial strut rate,

PAGE 50

41 o J •3 1 | n n in m o CS — i oo in o o o o o o o co *— I co co q M q GGGGGGG GO G G O G G O 1 o GO £ 1 CO CO S ii 1 1 L 1 1 3 it it il en cs in t-; cs p t*; cs i cs -*t | *H no s| "^ ts "tf rf r-^ t-4 Tf" od i-I CS O CS CS in oo do v CS w cs x ^•* *' <-j p >n cs i cs | ^t ; *>o p cs >n o ^' Q Q eo <— I d O +1 -ft +1 +1 +\ +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 \^ N^^ ^^ >w' ^-^ >w' >*-^ >— ^S 'W ^-^ in i-j i vq co cs r~; cn O) oo cs \d cs" cn cn in -5 i-h -n cs -h r— i in cs dddd T 1 "^ a o =3 S S £.g oaf S o CS v f-H CS ^ cs_ -^ ; •"* n cs' cn P A Dm pod +1 +1 +1 +1 <-J Tf CS c^ cn cn ^h 00 G O cd O G CO mS? CO p 2 T3 Ph-P OJ 3 ^ o co O C *-> O S| S -S oo*1 a § i a H CO 2a o J* S3 g s-i G la ii o| a I o 0> 55 6

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42 male condition, frontal caruncle depth, side caruncle number, and beard length, also did not explain female mating preference (Wilcoxon signed rank tests, P0.05). In the live male trials females spent significantly more time with the male that they solicited (1.7 0.72 min for the chosen male vs. 0.42 0.17 min for the male not chosen; MannWhitney U-test, ni=17, n2=17, U=74, U =215, P=0.02). The mean time until solicitation was 2.1 0.85 min. Time until solicitation was not dependent on the similarity of the scores or measures of any of the variables of the two males (Spearman rank correlation, P>0.05). The three females who did not choose the male with the higher of the two scores for the second factor seemed to mate more quickly on average than females who did (1.00.8 min vs. 2.31.0 min). Male Models Experiment Of the 23 females tested in the male model trials, only nine solicited copulation from the decoys. One female solicited immediately in the center of the entrance way of the arena and thus her choice was ambiguous and this trial was excluded. Of the eight remaining females, who clearly solicited on only one side of the arena, seven solicited before the more ornamented model. This preference for the more ornamented model was statistically significant (Binomial Test, one-tailed, P=0.035). Six of the eight females spent more time with the model male that they subsequently solicited; however, this difference is not statistically significant (Binomial Test, one-tailed, P=0.145). The two females who did not spend more time with their preferred male also took much longer to choose (mean= 9 min vs. 1.7 min, overall mean= 4 min). Three of the females that chose the more ornamented model never spent any time on the side of the less ornamented decoy. The single female that solicited the less ornamented decoy never visited the more ornamented model but solicited in a typical amount of time (1.88 min). Nine of the 14 nonsoliciting females were obviously distressed, as evidenced by frequent alarm calling or frantic attempts to exit the arena, despite a training period. These females showed no preference for either side of the arena (Binomial Test, two-tailed,

PAGE 52

43 P=0.5). The remaining five females who neither solicited nor alarm called engaged in nonsexual behaviors such as dust-bathing or preening. They also showed no preference for either half of the arena (Binomial Test, two-tailed, P=l). Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males Nine yearling male wild turkeys were captured, measured and screened for parasites (Table 3-4). All males sampled for these ectoparasites (7 of 9) had attached ticks (Argasidae and Ixodidae). Ticks were most common on bare areas along the alar vein under the wing, but also occurred on the back of the head. The total tick burden was not significantly correlated with any measure of male ornamentation or body size (all P >0.05). The number of ticks attached on the head, however, was positively correlated with the relaxed length of the snood (r s = 0.7, n= 9, P=0.05). Lice were most common on the rump (only one of seven males had no rump lice) but were not correlated with male ornamentation (all P> 0.05). Half of the eight males sampled for back lice were infected. Numbers of lice on the back were significantly negatively correlated with the number of side caruncles on males (r s =-0.66, n=8, P=0.03) and showed a similar trend with the length of the tarsal spurs (r s =-0.53, n=8, P=0.07). Total lice numbers were not correlated with any measure of male ornamentation, size or condition (all P0.05). One to five fecal samples were collected from each bird (mean=3.40.6). Fecal analysis revealed two parasites to be common: a protozoan coccidia (Eimeria spp.) and a cecal nematode (Trichostrongvlus tenuis) Eggs from an unidentified cestode were also detected in one fecal sample flotation. Sediments from the fecal samples appeared completely free of parasite eggs. All nine males had infections with the large coccidia and eight of nine were infected with small coccidia. Eimeria burdens were not negatively correlated with tarsus length, mass or condition (all P 0.05). However coccidia burden was negatively correlated with some measures of male ornamentation. Average burdens of the large eimerian were

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44 Table 3-4. Parasite loads of one-year-old, wild caught, male wild turkeys. Parasite % Occurrence (N) Mean Load (SE) ticks head 100 (9) 8.4 (3.8) wing 100 (9) 17.3 (3.5) total 100 (9) 25.8 (5.9) lice back 50 (8) 2.0 (1.0) rump 86 (7) 6.8 (2.3) total 100 (7) 7.0 (2.8) Eimeria oocyts large 100 (9) 342.2 (190) small 89 (9) 2276.2 (2042) total 100 (9) 2618.4 (2214) Trichostrongylus eggs total 56 (9) 22.3 (14.81) Blood Parasites Haemoproteus 86 (7) 7.3 (2.5) Leucocytozoon 14 (7) 0.1 (0.1) Plasmodium 43 (7) 0.6 (0.3)

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45 significantly negatively correlated with the relaxed snood length of males (r s =-0.78, n=9, P=0.03). Average burdens of the small eimerians showed a similar, though nonsignificant, negative trend with relaxed snood length (r s =-0.63, n=9, P=0.07). The overall average coccidia burden showed a very strong significantly negative correlation with relaxed snood length (r s =-0.84, n=9, P=0.02). Individuals with extremely high burdens of coccidia in one sample (e.g., tens of thousands) never had samples with very low numbers of oocysts. Individuals with lower burdens (e.g., hundreds of oocysts) generally had at least one sample in which no or few oocysts were detected. It appears that heavily infected animals are subject to a more chronic and potentially more debilitating release of oocysts from the gut than are animals with lower infections, perhaps because more species of coccidia are causing the infection. If this is the case, perhaps the minimum sample is a better indicator of susceptibility. Relaxed snood length was not more strongly correlated with the lowest (or highest) burden sampled than with the average total burden, although these measures were significantly or nearly significandy negatively correlated with relaxed snood length (r s = -0.55 to -0.82, n=9, 0.02

0.09). Stretched snood length on the other hand was not significandy associated with average coccidia burden but was significantly negatively correlated with the lowest measurements of the large, small and total eimerian burdens (r s = -0.66, -0.70, -0.70, respectively; n= 9, P< 0.05). Also there were nonsignificant negative trends in correlation between large, small and total lowest coccidia burden per male and frontal caruncle area (all r s = -0.63, n=9, P=0.06) and between lowest burdens of small coccidia and frontal caruncle depth (r s =-0.74, n=8, P=0.06). The tendency of some ornaments to be correlated with the minimum sample burden suggest that this may be a more sensitive measure of parasite burden than average or maximum burdens. The thread nematode fTrichostrongvlus tenuis ) was present in five of the nine males sampled. Average nematode egg burdens were not correlated with male ornamentation, body size or condition.

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46 Data from hunter-killed animals showed that relaxed (MannWhitney U test, U=0, U!=16, ni=4, n2=4, P=0.03) or stretched (Mann-Whimey U test, U=0, U!=12, ni=4, n2=4, P=0.03) snood length could be used to distinguish between first year and older males. Over the three year classes measured, relaxed snood length increased significantly (rho= 0.79, n=8, P= 0.04) but stretched length only showed a nonsignificant trend (rho= 0.71, n=8, P= 0.09) with age. These correlations became nonsignificant when the effects of body condition were removed by partial regression. However relaxed snood length remained strongly correlated with male condition if the effects of age are removed (rho=0.56, n=13, P=0.05). Discussion The results provide support for a parasite-driven explanation for the maintenance of female choice for male ornamentation in wild turkeys (Hamilton & Zuk 1982). They do not support the arbitrary preference model. Females preferred to mate with males that had longer snoods and broader skullcaps; two tightly covarying male traits. Although skullcaps were not measured on wild individuals, stretched and relaxed snood length were longest in individuals with lower and less chronic burdens of coccidian oocysts. Surveys in the wild have shown this parasite to be quite widespread; 46-100% of turkey poults are infected and 40% of droppings collected from adults contain oocysts (reviewed by Davidson & Wentworth 1992). Perhaps because this parasite is often ignored during searches for internal parasites (Ruff et al. 1988), coccidiosis is not commonly suspected to contribute to the mortality of adult wild turkeys. However laboratory transmission of Eimeria from wild individuals to domestic poults proves these parasites have the potential to be highly pathogenic (Prestwood et al. 1973). Chronic effects of coccidiosis in domestic poultry include delayed maturation due to decreased plasma testosterone levels (Ruff 1988), decreased egg and sperm production and lower fertility (Bressler et al. 1951; Ruff et al. 1984; Ogbuokiri & Edgar 1986; Ruff & Wilkins 1987). If similar effects occur in wild

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47 populations, and if resistance to coccidia in wild turkeys is heritable as it is in domestic poultry (Johnson & Edgar 1982), females that choose mates that are resistant to Eimeria would have greater fitness because their offspring are relieved of the deleterious effects of these parasites. Thus female choice for male snood length appears to be a behavioral adaptation against parasitism. The beard, frontal caruncles and other aspects of male ornamentation were not subject to female choice, despite the fact that there is some indication that they may also indicate parasite burden. Why did females not discriminate among males by these characters? There are three possible explanations. First and most obvious, is that the captive turkeys of the eastern subspecies are not subject to the same selective pressures as the wild osceola males sampled in Florida. Limited data suggest that parasite burdens may be lower in the northern parts of the wild turkey's range (Sasseville et al. 1988) Second the apparent trends between caruncle quality and other parasites may be the spurious result of using multiple statistical tests. Larger sample sizes of wild males are needed to document the reliability of these other ornaments as indicators of parasite burden to females. Last, studies of female choice in other galliformes have shown year to year shifting in some of the male characters that are assessed (e.g., Zuk et al. 1992), suggesting that frontal caruncles, which appear to be inversely correlated with parasite burden, may be important in mate assessment in other years. Threadworms, Trichostrongylus. have a dramatic effect on the fitness of some other galliforms, particularly grouse (Hudson & Dobson 1991), but infections in wild turkeys are generally not severe enough to cause pathologies (Davidson & Wentworth 1992) and therefore it was not surprising that these nematodes did not affect the degree of male ornamentation. Similarly ectoparasite burdens were low and probably have a subde, cumulative effect on male condition not readily revealed by ornamentation (e.g., Booth et al. 1993).

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48 Because harsh winters limit survivorship in wild turkeys, it was hypothesized that females should try to assess male ability to survive such conditions. It was hypothesized that turkey hens could assess male condition by the male's ability to perform energetically costly displays. This hypothesis was not supported directly. Male condition and display frequency during the mate choice trial did not explain variation in female choice. In fact some females solicited so quickly that they would have had little opportunity to measure male strut frequency. However the characters females assessed during mate choice, snood length and skullcap width, were positively correlated with the male's average strut frequency over all his trials (Table 2-1). In the well-fed captive turkeys neither average strut frequency, relaxed or stretched snood lengths nor display snood length were correlated with male condition. But after statistically removing any effects of age, the stretched snood length of wild males was significantly positively correlated with male condition and age was no longer correlated with snood length. Although male strut frequency was apparently not assessed by females during the mate choice trials, females mated with males that strutted at a higher rate and that were in better condition by choosing males with longer snoods and wider skullcaps. Further field captures and experimental manipulations will be necessary to determine if display rate is a specific indicator of the stored fat resources of the male. Male age is perhaps the best indicator of a male's good genes. Older males are probably not a random sample in terms of natural selection; they have survived multiple challenges over time, including parasitism, starvation and predation. One hypothesis for the maintenance of male ornamentation in wild turkeys is that these characters serve as indicators of male age. In this study captive females did not choose among 2 year old males based on previously documented age class indicators, such as spur length. This may be because these cues provide no information when males are very similar, i.e. within one age class. Unfortunately previous studies of correlates of wild turkey age have ignored the head ornamentation of males (Kelly 1975; Steffen et al. 1990). Results from a limited sample of wild males covering three age classes shows that the characters females are assessing in

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49 mate choice are not good indicators of male age because age covaries with body condition. A larger sample size is needed to tease apart these two variables. For example, more field data are needed to determine if the snood lengths of heavily parasitized, older males are shorter than lightly parasitized, younger males. In any case snood length within one age class appears to be a reliable cue to the body condition of the bearer as well as to the coccidia burden among males. The handicap model for the maintenance of male ornamentation proposes that females assess a male's ability to survive despite his burdensome ornaments. Field experiments that record the reproductive success and survivorship of manipulated males are necessary to test this hypothesis. Nevertheless anecdotal observations provide some support for the handicap model. The conspicuous ornamentation and courtship displays of male wild turkeys attract predators and are thought to increase their risk of predation (Miller & Leopold 1992). The uninsulated bare head of males may also represent a thermoregulatory handicap. Birds generally lose large quantities of heat from feathered heads (Hill et al. 1980). Unfeathered heads such as the turkey's should lose even more heat and may hasten male starvation during severe winter storms. Since there is no clear advantage to having bare heads in winter, it seems reasonable to suggest that the bare heads of male wild turkeys may have evolved as a handicap. Similarly other forms of male ornamentation, such as the beard and fanned tail, might serve as handicaps. This study suggests that the snood and skullcap of males are maintained by female choice for males with low burdens of coccidia. Also these traits may be used by females to choose older males as mates and perhaps males that have more body fat Snood length and skullcap appear to be the only aspects of male ornamentation under direct selection by females. The selective pressures maintaining the striking array of extravagant ornamentation of wild turkeys is only partly explained. Males have strikingly colored caruncles on their head and neck, a long beard projecting from their chest, iridescent feathers and a large fan-like tail that are apparently not subject to female choice, but may

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50 instead play a role in male-male competition (Chapter 4) or be maintained because of its other functions (Chapter 5).

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CHAPTER 4 MALE DOMINANCE AND VARIATION IN FLESHY HEAD ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS Introduction The mating system of wild turkeys has been classified as male-dominance polygyny (Williams & Austin 1988). In the breeding season males vocalize ("gobble") to attract flocks of receptive females and then follow and display to those hens throughout the day. During this time other males may be attracted to the same females and battles between males over mating access often result (Watts & Stokes 1971). Because males are unable to obtain exclusive access to females by defending food or other resources that female turkeys need (Emlen & Oring 1977; Hurst 1992), they control access to the females themselves. As a result male wild turkeys engage in frequent, direct, agonistic interactions that determine mating success (Watts & Stokes 1971). These agonistic interactions begin when the males are juveniles and establish dominance heirarchies within their age cohort (Healy 1992a) and continue as males encounter and fight with other males after dispersal from the natal territory and in subsequent breeding seasons (Watts & Stokes 1971; Williams & Austin 1988; Healy 1992a). The War Propaganda model (Fisher 1958; Borgia 1979) proposes that in mating systems such as the wild turkey's, in which females gain no direct benefits from males and males compete for access to females, male fighting success should be assessed by females during mate choice. Females should do this because fighting ability is probably a good measure of overall male condition. Another reason to mate with dominant males is that the components of dominance may be heritable (Dewsbury 1990); therefore, a female that mates with a dominant male may have higher fitness because of an increased likelihood that 51

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52 her mature male offspring will be able to gain access to hens. But females are not the only sex in which selection should favor the ability to recognize dominant males. To avoid battles in which the risk of injury outweighs gains in lifetime fitness, males should assess the condition of their competitors before fighting. Both the receiver and the signaller might benefit from the transmission of information about male condition (Rohwer 1975; Rohwer 1977). Dominant males avoid the costs of continually battling weaker males for preferential access to resources and subordinate males avoid the risk of serious injury from dominant males who are likely to be healthier and stronger and win fights (M0ller 1987). Thus both females and males should assess the dominance status of males. Fleshy ornaments are associated with intrasexual competition in many galliform species (Stokkan 1979; Brodsky 1988; Ligon et al. 1990; Holder & Montgomerie 1993) and are uniquely suited to signal male status honestly. These structures generally develop only upon sexual maturity and their size in males is known to be testosterone dependent in some species (Allee et al. 1939; Collias 1943; Stokkan 1979). Higher testosterone levels are often associated with dominance and increased aggressiveness in birds (Wingfield et al. 1987), suggesting that fleshy ornamentation may correlate with a male's dominance status. Dominant males might have relatively higher testosterone levels because they are in better physical condition (Ligon et al. 1990) or because they are able to suppress the testosterone levels of subordinate males (Lisano & Kennamer 1977). As demonstrated earlier (Chapter 3), the snood length of male wild turkeys is a indicator of coccidia burden, condition and possibly age. This would suggest that males could use this aspect of male ornamentation to assess the vigor of males they encounter and thus consider the risks of combatting those males. If this is the case, males with longer snoods would be expected to be dominant over less ornamented males, and that males with similarly sized ornamentation should be in the most conflict over relative status. In this study I test this hypothesis by comparing the ornamentation of males matched in dyadic dominance trials. However males may establish dominance not because of ornamentation

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53 itself, but because of strongly correlated attributes such as body weight Therefore I also examine the response of captive males to the presentation of artificial males that differ only in snood length and caruncle number. Methods A detailed description of the rearing of the wild turkeys used in these experiments, including cage sizes is provided in the previous chapter (Chapter 3). Briefly, the wild turkeys were obtained from a game farm as day-old chicks. At four months of age the females were separated from the males and the males were divided into two, visually isolated groups. Pilot observations during the spring 1992 breeding season showed that very few of the males actively strutted when group housed. Therefore when the males were 15 months old, six months before the 1994 season, the males were moved to individual pens separated by opaque dividers. This had the effect of stimulating more males to perform the strut display. Eleven of the 28 males displayed spontaneously and regularly in their individual pens. These animals were designated "displayers" and were used in the mate choice trials (described in Chapter 3) before being tested in the dominance trials. For the dominance trials, conducted in Feb-April 1993, a male from one rearing flock was matched with a male from the other flock. These males were chosen from their respective flocks at random except that "displayers" were always matched with other displayers. An additional male who displayed occassionally was used in the dyad with the odd numbered "displayer". The pairing of males based on display frequency mimics the situation in the wild where displayers usually fight one another and are avoided by nondisplaying individuals and juveniles (personal observation). Each dyad of males was measured for ornamentation and body size, as described previously (Chapter 3), on the day before the dominance trial.

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54 Live Males In the live male dominance trials, two males were admitted to a central arena (2.7m x 5.3 x 2.7m) from their respective holding pens (Figure 4la). The males were familiarized with the arena for several hours on the day prior to the trial and had spent part of their rearing period in the pen as well. No food or mates were provided in the arena, although the males often found something to peck at on the dirt floor of the pen. This situation simulated a random meeting of unfamiliar males on common ground with no resource to contest. Trials lasted 10 minutes and were videotaped so that the rapidly occurring dominance interactions could be reviewed and transcribed later. A heirarchy of criteria was used for designating one member of the dyad as subordinate and the other dominant Most males actually fought with one another. Fighting begins when one male approaches the other and begins giving "fighting purrs", vocalizations that elicit combat (Healy 1992a). The other male typically responds with fighting purrs until one of them slaps the other with a wing while simultaneously kicking him. The birds continue to wing slap and kick one another until one of them suddenly turns and attempts to flee. Fleeing males are generally pursued and sometimes pecked on the head. If the males fought, the fleeing male was designated the subordinate. In some trials one male fled immediately upon encountering the first male and as a result was designated the subordinate. In one trial the males did not fight nor did one flee from the other. In this case the male that was displaced while pecking at the ground was designated the subordinate. For each trial I recorded the number of wingflapping bouts given by each bird prior to physical contact (pecking in the absence of fights, or wing slapping/kicking in birds that fought) and latency to physical contact. A wingflapping bout consisted of the male standing in place and flapping the wings two to five times. This action pattern is often used in aggressive contexts in Galliformes (Kruijt 1964; Buchholz 1989). If the males fought I recorded the identity of the male who began giving "fighting purrs", the frequency of

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55 Male in Waiting 82. to lB live Male Figure 4-1. Male dominance trial arenas. A) Randomly matched males are admitted to a central arena from holding pens; B) A living male is given the choice of feeding from in front of two artificial males of different snood lengths and side caruncle numbers. Another male waits in a holding area.

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56 pecking and kicking by each male during combat, the duration of the fight and the identity of the male that stopped fighting first and began to flee. A dark shelter was provided in the rear of the arena so that the subordinate male could hide from the aggressor. None of the males was injured. The characteristics of the dominant male were compared with those of the subordinate in each trial with one-tailed Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks tests (Siegel 1956) or one-tailed, unpaired t-tests on principal component factor score differences. The differences between the factor scores of the two males used in each trial, calculated as the dominant male's scores minus the subordinate male's scores, are expected to be significantly greater than zero if dominant males are more highly ornamented (as described in the methods for Chapter 3). Correlations between time measurements and differences in male ornamentation were determined using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient Differences in ornamentation between subgroups of males, e.g., displayers and nondisplayers, were tested for statistical significance with the Mann-Whitney U test. Male Model Trials Artificial males constructed from decoys were used to test the effects of male fleshy ornamentation on the decision-making of live males. The use of models allowed for the experimental control of male characteristics that usually covary with snood length. The model males were exactly like those used in the mate choice experiments described earlier (Chapter 3), except that they did not have fanned tails and they were not accompanied by the recorded display sounds. One male model had a long snood and many side caruncles (highly ornamented) and the other had a shorter snood and fewer side caruncles (slightly ornamented). The models were placed 1.3 m apart at one end of the rectangular arena (Figure 4-lb). The relative positions of the highly ornamented and slightly ornamented models were randomized. Approximately 15 ml of bird seed was placed in a pile on the ground immediately below the bill of each model. Males were denied food for a few hours immediately before the trial, but this appeared to have little impact on their behavior because

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57 they did not feed immediately when food was returned after the trial. In any case bird seed was a preferred treat that the turkeys would eat preferentially even when their regular food was available ai libitum During each model trial a single male was admitted through a door in one side of the arena. The latency of the males to feed from one of the seed piles was recorded. Males that did not choose a seed pile within 30 min were removed and were not retested. Results Live Male Trials Fighting occurred in 8 of the 14 trials. Fights lasted on average only 46.1 sec. Out of the 6 trials in which no fighting occurred, there were three cases in which the subordinate male fled from the other male immediately. In one case the males did not fight nor flee, nor did they ever direcdy contact one another. The duration of fighting showed a trend toward being negatively correlated with differences in beard length between the two males (r s = -0.51, p=0.07). During fighting only 2 of the 28 males tested, distended their snoods slightly (just past the bill opening). In both cases these males were later classified as dominant to the individual with which they were paired. Seven of the ten male characteristics measured directly were found to be strongly correlated (r 2 >0.4) with one another (Table 4-1). These were spur length, relaxed snood length, side caruncle number, skullcap width, frontal caruncle area, frontal caruncle depth and body mass. A factor analysis utilizing varimax transformation produced four factors from these variables (Table 4-2). Snood length and mass loaded on the first factor, spur length, frontal caruncle area and caruncle depth loaded on the second factor, skullcap width loaded on the third factor and side caruncle number loaded on the fourth factor. The factor scores of these variables are analyzed below in addition to the raw measurements in an attempt to identify underlying axes of variation in these characters.

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58 en On en en On en CO ID CN in en r^H CN cn ^H On m OS >o O oo •n -* ^F "t ren en On CN o -3en en •a i T3 d o "Si 53 8 oo o CN CN oo m n oo n •PS n o n M2 o cs ^H i—H m ON O en m CN >n CN Cs| Tt oo 00 oo n n oo CM CN m m CN en O u c u a H"" o5c/5 SUtj^ J3 S & ^2 o 5 CU

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59 ^h ^ _, Tt o o rN^N'i 4 s } """* O o o o o o o o 2 oodoooo d S-i 2 1 P-. § o CD CO o\hh\oovoo d d ON C4 o P-: ,s en M cxj ^t cj\ o ^ n Ui N d d c: <^> d d d d I Pc % P-: £ 3 llsia I J1 .3 S S S

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60 The differences between the two males scores on factors 2, 3 and 4 were not significantly different from zero (mean differences = -0.14, 0.5, 0.11, respectively; Table 43). However the results for factor 1, though only nearly significant, suggest that snood length and body mass may be associated with dominance in male wild turkeys (mean difference = 0.48). When the difference between dominant and subordinate males in these characters are assessed direcdy, without the aid of factor analysis, relaxed snood length is the only character that is significantly different between the two groups (Table 4-3). However dominant males on average had higher values for all ten of the variables measured (Binomial test, N=10, one-tailed, P=0.06). Individuals that started fights were no more likely to become dominant than those that responded to the threat behavior (X 2 =2.27, v=l, p> 0.05). The time until first contact in the 13 trials in which contact occurred averaged 129.2 sec, although 85% were 32 sec or less. The difference in ornamentation of the males was associated with the time until first contact between males that actually fought The time until first contact was positively correlated with differences between males on the second factor (spur length, caruncle area and depth; r s = 0.52, n=13, p=0.07). This relationship was statistically significant if the raw differences in spur length are tested rather than the factor scores (r s = 0.59, p=0.04). The difference in the frequency of wingflapping bouts prior to contact, on the other hand, was negatively associated with time until first contact, although only nearly significantly (r s = -0.50, p=0.08). The males had been divided into two matched groups for the dominance trials: nondisplayers and displayers. The eleven displayer males tended to have longer stretched snoods (4.0 vs. 4.6 cm; U=56, U!=131, p=0.08) and larger factor two scores (spur, frontal caruncle area and depth; U=52, U = 135, p=0.05). However only caruncle depth was significantly different when the raw values of these variables were compared between the two groups (1.0 vs 1.2 cm; U=30.5, U l = 156.5, p=0.003).

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61 a | I 3OS0sPo5OSOSC0OSCOS gcgoggggcgg en 9 01 co o) a e c oa cw os G G G T3 a) .G 1 G i a i-h r-i os cs co i-j en i-H cs en cnoonenoqnen>n so ri er i cn Tf ci i> *-! <* oo o t-H i— i tN SO o Q /* — N r — ^ r ~\ r -* cs en en cs ssss rf r~. m so C^OtNO odd d Tt rH o\ M VO O fH -h W O ddHodcivdoodo g cSONt^'— i0 ,: t v O'-jr-;t~-;<^ a so t-h - Q ^h r— < rt en Vi spur leng beard len relaxed s stretched side cam front can front can skullcap 4 > OS 3 OS G O +- 11 O On sO # odd rorto es es es en rjOO v> so CN SO CS O dddd o , d G 02 | m DO G •t-i os fe .Si-G i-> V-i d d c c G O o O os |§ ^ o os O d 4-i Q AJS 53.G 4o *-T3 §1 O G
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62 Male Model Trials Twenty one of the 28 males tested responded by feeding within the 30 min trial period. Of the seven males that did not respond, two attacked the decoys (one gave fighting purrs to the less ornamented model, the other pecked the snood of the more ornamented model), four did not feed or approach the decoys, and one trial was excluded because a decoy toppled over. A significant number of the 21 males that responded under the trial conditions fed in front of the less ornamented decoy (X 2 = 8.0, v=l, p< 0.01). The four males who chose to feed from the seed in front of the more ornamented male tended to have smaller spurs (mean= 2.1 vs. 1.3 cm; U= 22.5, U*= 73.5, p=0.09) and fewer side caruncles (25.7 vs. 12.8; U=18, U 1 =78, p=0.05) than the 17 who fed in front of the less ornamented model. The latency of the males to feed (i.e. the time from the start of the trial until males began to feed) was not correlated with any of the male characters measured. The males who did not feed during the trial were not different from the other males in any of the measured characters (Mann Whitney U-tests, all p> 0.05). Discussion In dyadic encounters between wild turkeys the only male character significantly predictive of the outcome of male-male interaction was relaxed snood length. Dominant males had longer relaxed snoods than their subordinate partners. Similarly males tended to avoid feeding on seeds near model males with longer snoods in the male model trials. These complementary results strongly suggest that males assess one another's snood length as an indicator of male condition and status. Therefore it is surprising that differences in snood length do not affect the time until, or duration of, combat If snood length is a good indicator of status, males with similar snood lengths should need to battle longer to resolve relative dominance status than pairs of males with very disparate snood lengths. Additional studies are necessary to understand why males do not adjust their investment in fighting according to their likelihood of winning.

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63 Differences in several other male characters showed tendencies to be correlated with the time until first contact and the duration of fighting. Males with similar spur lengths fought each other sooner after meeting than dissimilar males. Spurs serve as weapons during battle in a number of galliforms (Davison 1985) including wild turkeys, but none of the evidence shows that the length of spurs affects the outcome of combat. In fact an experimental field study in Sweden clearly demonstrated that variation in the length of spurs is not a good predictor of dominance status in ringneck pheasants (Phasianus colchicus ). although this character is assessed by females during mate choice (von Schantz et al. 1989). Spur length in wild turkeys is a reliable predictor of age (Kelly 1975) and older males tend to be larger and in better condition (Chapter 3). Therefore spur length may normally be assessed by competitors before battle in the wild where different aged animals encounter one another, but is of little significance in the outcome of trials where males are of the same age as was the case here. Differences in the frequency of wingflapping bouts, a behavior associated with aggressiveness in other galliforms, tended to be negatively correlated with time until first contact However this behavior did not occur at a higher frequency in dominant individuals. Similarly differences in beard length between males tended towards a negative correlation with duration of fighting. The greater the difference in beard lengths between males the more quickly they tended to resolve fights. However beard length was not a good predictor of dominance status either. Beard length increases with age to some degree (Kelly 1975), but is strongly affected by abrasion and thus is probably not a consistent indicator of age across different habitats (Pelham & Dickson 1992). Studies of beard and spur development relative to agonistic interactions in mixed-age populations are needed. In captivity males classified as "displayers" had longer stretched snoods than nondisplayers. I did not test the relative dominance of these two types of males. Off hand it might seem reasonable to conclude that displayers will be dominant over nondisplayers because displayers have longer stretched snoods. However more caution in interpreting the

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64 implications of stretched snood lengths is necessary. Snood distension is muscular (Lucas & Stettenheim 1972), therefore the difference in stretched snood length between displayers and nondisplayers may possibly be attributable to the greater exercise given the snood by the "displayer" males. Additional evidence to support this hypothesis comes from the previous chapter (Chapter 3) where average display rate (a measure of how often the snood is distended) was found to be strongly correlated with stretched snood length but only weakly correlated with relaxed snood length. For this reason it is unclear whether displaying males can be assumed to be dominant over nondisplayers based on ornamentation differences. This cautionary note serves as a reminder that behavior can influence morphology just as the reverse is true. Snood length was strongly correlated with body mass, a factor thought to be very important to resource holding capacity and the outcome of dyadic encounters in many species (Parker 1974; Richner 1989; Beaugrand et al. 1991). In this study males differed by several kilograms in weight in some cases, and yet this variable, when measured alone, did not have a significant effect on the outcome of fighting. Snood length, on the other hand, was greater in dominant males when raw measurements were used and nearly so when factor scores were used. This suggests that snood length indicates more than just body mass to potential competitors. Results presented earlier (Chapter 3) confirm that snoods are good indicators of a number of measures of male condition, including parasite burden, energy reserves and possibly age. My results suggest that males use snood length as a general measure of the risks associated with fighting over food or status and that females use this male character to assess male condition and fighting success. Similar results were obtained in comprehensive studies of sexual selection in red junglefowl, Gallus gaUus : (Ligon et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; 1992). Comb length in this species is maintained by female choice. Females choose males based on comb length because this character indicates male parasite burden and fighting success. Thus the comb of junglefowl and the snood of wild turkeys fit Borgia's (1979) War Propaganda

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65 model for the evolution of extravagant ornamentation because females are choosing males based on characters that indicate male fighting success. In contrast studies of sexual behavior and fleshy ornamentation in grouse suggest a different scenario than that in phasianids. Comb size is a good indicator of male status in ptarmigans (Gjesdal 1977; Moss et al. 1979; Stokkan 1979) and affects how males interact (Holder & Montgomerie 1993), but this character is not under direct selection by females. Instead female ptarmigan preferentially mate with males whose combs show less damage from fighting. In larger grouse comb characteristics appear to be unimportant to female mate choice (Alatalo et al. 1991). Why do females assess male fleshy ornamentation differently in phasianids and grouse? One reason may be that phasianids have permanently exposed fleshy ornaments, while grouse can hide their combs beneath feathers. The facultative nature of comb exposure makes it more difficult for females to assess the size of the comb. As a consequence females are selected to base their mate choice on a more easily and quickly assessed characteristic (Sullivan 1994), such as scarring and damage from fighting (Brodsky 1988). This interpretation is at best speculative but warrants further investigation. In conclusion it appears that female and male wild turkeys can use male fleshy ornamentation to assess male condition and dominance status. Male characteristics that are important in other species, such as body mass or age, were not valid predictors of the outcome of male-male agonistic interactions in this study or were not included as a variable. Fleshy ornamentation appears to be an indicator of male status because it is probably dependent on a conditionand dominance-dependent hormone, testosterone. Both males and females seem to take advantage of the information provided by snood length to increase their fitness.

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CHAPTER 5 THE THERMOREGULATORY ROLE OF THE UNFEATHERED HEAD AND NECK IN MALE WILD TURKEYS Introduction Endotherms usually maintain body temperatures above environmental temperature at considerable energetic cost An unexplained exception to the general endotherm pattern of having insulation against heat loss are birds that have brightly colored areas of unfeathered skin on their heads and necks. Although the bright coloration of these structures is consistent with a sexually selected function, some studies have suggested that these areas of bare skin also maintain sublethal brain temperatures by dissipating heat via cephalo-cervical retes (Crowe & Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979; LaRochelle et al. 1982; Chapter 2). The heat dissipation hypothesis is supported by correlative studies showing that unfeathered head and neck skin is maximally exposed at high temperatures and that in some taxa the size of unfeathered areas is greater at low latitudes where heat dissipation may be of greater importance (Crowe 1979; Chapter 2). Highly vascularized fleshy ornamentation presents a functional puzzle when species are distributed over a large latitudinal range in which they are exposed to both temperature extremes. Although these species may benefit by using their FS to dissipate heat under hot conditions, the uninsulated nature of these structures subjects them to extreme heat loss under cold conditions and heat gain in the presence of solar radiation. In this study I test the possible thermoregulatory function of unfeathered head ornamentation in a species that commonly faces extremes of cold and heat, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) Wild turkeys occur over a broad range of temperature extremes from their southern limit in southern Mexico to their northern limits along the US-Canada border (Dickson 66

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67 1992). Males are twice as large as females, and have brightly colored unfeathered skin on their heads and necks. In addition this skin is covered with polyp-like elaborations of the integument called caruncles. A thin dewlap extends from the mandible down to the neck. Perhaps most distinctive is the bare, distensible frontal process or snood that projects from the forehead at the base of the upper bill. Fleshy head ornamentation in wild turkeys and other galliformes is often thought to be maintained by sexual selection, that is, it functions in mate choice and male-male competition. Ample empirical evidence supports this contention (Brodsky 1988; Boyce 1990; Hillgarth 1990; Ligon et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; Spurrier et al. 1991; Zuk et al. 1992; Chapters 3 & 4;). A role in sexual selection, however, does not rule out concurrent functions for these structures in thermoregulation. To understand why the unfeathered areas of turkeys are maintained despite the possible costs in terms of heat loss, the thermoregulatory tradeoffs faced by wild turkeys with feathered and unfeathered heads must be assessed. Because all extant wild turkeys have bare heads, in this study I experimentally insulate the heads and necks of turkeys, to assess the thermoregulatory tradeoffs that ancestral turkeys may have faced at cold and hot temperatures. Methods Subjects and Apparatuses Eight, two-year old, male wild turkeys, obtained as chicks from a game farm (L&L Pheasantry, Hegins, PA, USA), were used in the metabolic trials. These birds were reared as described in Chapter 3. Gray and Price (1988) showed no difference in the metabolic rates of wild turkeys from game farm or free-living sources. Average body weight of these individuals was 7.1 kg (range 6.4-8.1 kg). During the study period (JuneSept 1993) the birds were provided with feed (Purina Gamebird Maintenance, 12% protein) and water ad. libitum Subjects were denied food for 26-29 hrs immediately prior to each metabolic trial

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68 to insure that they were post-absorptive. Post-absorptive conditions are necessary to measure the basal or minimum rate of metabolism. Water was still available during the pretrial period. Oxygen consumption and total water loss were measured in an open system (described by McNab 1988). The temperature of the 329 liter metabolic chamber was regulated by pumping water from a water bath through the chamber's hollow walls. Room air was sucked through the metabolic chamber, pumped into glass columns filled with soda lime (to remove CO2) and silica gel (to remove H2O), after which flow rates, which averaged 20.6 1/min, were measured by a Brooks Sho-Rate flowmeter. Subsequently the airstream was sampled with an Applied Electrochemistry S-3A oxygen analyzer. The temperature and humidity of room air varied very little, 23.5 C (0.0) and 61.2% (0.2), respectively. Humidity in the chamber was not controlled. The bird's evaporative water loss was measured gravimetrically, that is, by weighing the silica gel. Core body temperature was measured by inserting a copper-constantan thermocouple, tipped with a thin layer of silicone, into the cloaca of the bird to a depth of 20 cm. This measurement was taken immediately before the subject was placed in the metabolic chamber and immediately after it was removed from the chamber. Six surface temperature measurements were taken: feather, leg, body skin, head skin, frontal caruncle and dewlap. Surface temperatures were measured with a bare-tipped thermocouple held against the appropriate spot while the subject was still in its holding box before the trial and again while it was still in the metabolic chamber at the end of a trial. Skin and feather surface temperature were measured approximately 3 cm ventral to the carpal joint of the wing. Leg temperature was measured immediately posterior to the third scale below the tarsal joint on the left or right leg, depending on which was accessible. Head skin temperature was measured on the back of the head at a point in line with the lower mandible. Surface temperature of the frontal caruncles and dewlap were measured at their approximate centers.

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69 Different rates of physical activity across subjects and trials can make it difficult to detect the effect of experimental treatments on metabolic rate. Therefore I minimized the bird's activity by conducting trials at night in the dark. Metabolic trials lasting 2.5 hours were conducted between 20:00-03:00 hours. All subjects were given at least one day between trials. Individual turkeys were tested at the same time of day (either 20:00 or 0:00 hours) across all treatments to minimize circadian effects on matched comparisons of metabolic rate. The first 30 min of each trial served as an equilibration period during which the bird calmed down after handling. The least observed rate of oxygen consumption (corrected to standard pressure and temperature) measured during each of the four subsequent 30 min periods was used to calculate an average metabolic rate for the entire trial. All individuals were given two 2.5 hr habituation trials prior to the experimental trials. Usually the subjects rested quietly during the experimental trials. Behaviorial states were recorded by instaneous sampling (Martin & Bateson 1986) every 30 min. Three states were noted as present or absent: standing, head tucked under feathers, panting. Observations were made with the aid of a flashlight through a small window in the chamber. Experimental Design To determine the potential thermoregulatory impact that head feathering would have on wild turkeys, their thermal balance was ascertained when their heads were "bare" (see below) and when they were insulated as though they were feathered. To approximate the insulatory properties of head and neck feathering, the bare head and neck of the turkey were covered with a double layer (0.6 cm on head, 0.9 cm on neck) of acrylic sock (Adler "Casual Acrylic Crew," 75% Hi-Bulk Acrylic/25% Stretch Nylon) with large holes for the eyes and the entire bill. Any irritational effects of the insulatory head covering on metabolic rate were controlled by placing a hood made of thin, nylon netting with little insulatory value on the heads of the "bare" individuals. The control head net and insulatory head socking were held in place with small alligator clips that attached to the back and chest feathers at the

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70 base of the neck. The efficacy of using head socking to approximate the insulation provided by normal feathering was determined by studying the warming curves of the feathered and unfeathered/reinsulated heads of domestic roosters (Gallus gallus) Six dependent thermoregulatory variables may be affected by head insulation. Metabolic rate, as measured by oxygen consumption (cm 3 02/g*hr), is a measure of the work the animal does to maintain thermeostasis. Rate of evaporative water loss (g/hr) is a measure of the heat lost via evaporation. Metabolic heat production (Hm) and evaporative heat loss (H e ) can be converted to common units (mW/g) to compare the cooling capacity of the animal in different treatments. Cooling capacity is the ability of the animal to dissipate metabolically produced heat by evaporation. It is expressed as a percentage, calculated as the heat lost by evaporation divided by the heat produced by metabolism (100% x He/H m ; Calder & King 1974). Total thermal conductance (mW/cm 2 C) measures all the heat lost by the animal, including evaporative heat loss, and is the inverse of insulation. It is estimated using the values for heat production, and ambient and body temperatures. Dry thermal conductance on the other hand is a measure of all nonevaporative means of heat loss: radiation, convection and conduction. If total conductance is exceeded by heat production, heat is stored in the tissues of the animal and body temperature rises. Each of these variables may be varied by the animal to cope with increased head and neck insulation. Thermoregulatory trials were conducted twice for each turkey at each of three ambient temperatures (0, 22, 35 C); one time as a control, the other with its head insulated. These temperatures were chosen to be below, within and above, respectively, the zone of thermal neutrality (Gray & Price 1988). The temperatures are also within the range that turkeys experience in the wild. A total of 48 trials were conducted. This matched design compares the metabolic values of each turkey in the experimental treatment to the values obtained from the same bird in the control treatment. This serves to minimize the effects of inter-individual variation on the effect of the experimental treatment. Due to scheduling

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71 conflicts in the laboratory, every turkey was tested at C before it was exposed to the other temperatures. The presentation order of the trials at 22 and 35 C was randomized. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to test the effects of body size (mean = 6.7 vs. 7.5 kg for small and large, respectively), chamber temperature and head insulation on oxygen consumption (cm 3 02/g*hr), cooling capacity, total and dry thermal conductances (mW/cm 2 C) and changes in body and surface temperatures (C). The effect of each 30 min sampling period was also included when oxygen consumption was the dependent variable. Treatment groups exhibited similar variances (Fmax tests, all p>0.05; Sokal & Rohlf 1981). Reported p values have been adjusted using Greenhouse-Geisser epsilon values. This technique conservatively compensates for the use of repeated measures by adjusting the degrees of freedom (Abacus Concepts Inc. 1989). Results The mass specific rate of oxygen consumption was significantly lower for large individuals across all temperatures (mean= 0.4140 0.007 vs. 0.4730 0.013 cm 3 02/g*hr; Table 5-1). Rate of metabolism was not significantly different for uninsulated and insulated turkeys at and 22 C. However at 35 C insulated turkeys exhibited a significantly higher average metabolic rate than uninsulated turkeys (Table 5-2, Figure 5-1). A significant, three-way interaction between head insulation, temperature and time period suggests that the effects of head insulation became more pronounced the longer the subject was exposed to the chamber conditions at hot temperatures. When the cooling capacities of uninsulated and insulated turkeys were compared, uninsulated turkeys demonstrate a significantly greater ability than insulated turkeys to dissipate excess metabolic heat by evaporation at 35 C, but not at cooler temperatures (Figure 5-2). Total thermal conductance increased with temperature. It was also greater for insulated birds overall (Table 5-1, Figure 5-3) but this difference was significant only at the

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72 hottest temperature (Table 5-2). Dry thermal conductance decreased with increasing temperature in the uninsulated birds. Insulated birds showed a similar pattern of conductances at and 22 C but had significantly higher values than uninsulated birds at 35 C. Head insulation resulted in significantly greater core body temperature changes of birds at 35 C, but not at the lower temperatures tested (Figure 5-4). Head insulation served to keep head skin warmer at C (31.2 1.0 C uninsulated vs. 36.7 0.3 C insulated), but did not result in significantly higher skin temperatures at 22 and 35 C. Insulated turkeys at 22 C increased their dewlap temperatures significantly more than uninsulated birds (32. 1 0.7 C uninsulated vs 35.2 0.3 C insulated), but this was not true at or 35 C. Body skin, feather, frontal caruncle and leg temperatures all increased with increasing ambient temperatures, but were not affected by the insulation treatment (Table 51). Across and within each temperature treatment, head insulation had no effect on the proportion of instantaneous observations in which the subjects were seen to be standing, panting, or had their head tucked in back feathers or under the wing (Mann-Whitney U tests, N=16, all p0.05). Panting only occurred at 35 C. The frequency of panting was difficult to observe because the birds often held their necks forward and down so that the view from the small window was blocked by the bird's body. Therefore it is not possible to look for associations between panting frequency and thermal balance. Nevertheless upon opening the chamber at the end of the 35 C trials, panting and an elongated snood (only visible in uninsulated trials) were observed in all individuals. Snood elongation did not occur at other temperatures. Although the proportion of observations in which the subjects were standing was not influenced by the insulation treatment, the frequency of this behavior did influence some of the dependent thermal variables. Frequency of standing was significantly

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73 Table 5-1. Partial results of repeated measures ANOVAs showing statistically significant sources of variation in, and those with strong trends of influence on, the dependent measures of thermal balance listed. Dependent Variable Source of Variance df F value Probab Oxygen Consumption Size Insulation*Temp Insul*Temp*Time 1 2 4 5.96 4.16 4.15 0.050 0.053 0.043 Cooling Capacity Temperature Insulation*Temp 2 2 135.00 8.87 0.0001 0.014 Thermal Conductance (Total) Thermal Conductance (Dry) Insulation Temperature Insulation*Temp Insulation Temperature Insulation*Temp 1 2 2 1 2 2 7.19 367.00 8.03 5.30 9.45 7.96 0.037 0.0001 0.028 0.061 0.016 0.027 Core Body Temperature Insulation Temperature Insulation*Temp 1 2 2 6.62 22.10 10.39 0.042 0.002 0.011 Leg Temperature Temperature 2 150.00 0.0001 Skin Temperature Temperature 2 3.70 0.086 Feather Temperature Insulation Temperature 1 2 4.43 42.01 0.083 0.001 Head Skin Temperature Insulation Temperature 1 2 12.09 16.28 0.013 0.001 Frontal Caruncle Temperature Temperature 2 6.39 0.013 Dewlap Temperature Temperature Insul*Temperature 2 2 6.83 7.79 0.014 0.009

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74 Table 5-2. Mean values of dependent thermal variables in eight wild turkeys exposed to three ambient temperatures (C) with their bare heads and necks uinsulated or insulated. Values presented for temperature measurements are mean changes in temperature (end of trial value minus beginning of trial value). Dependent Variables Means (SE) UNINSULATED HEADS Means (SE) INSULATED HEADS 0 22 35 0 220 35 Oxygen Consumption 0.45C (0.02) 0.41 (0.01) 0.43 a (0.02) 0.48C (0-24) 0.40 (0.01) 0.50 a (0.02) Cooling Capacity 24.68 (3.31) 76.83 (5.47) 119.69 a (7.33) 29.51 (3.27) 84.90 (3.33) 96.73 a (4.32) Thermal Conductance (Total) 0.11 (0.01) 0.24 (0.01) 0.78 a (0.03) 0.12 (0.01) 0.23 (0.01) 0.92 a (0.06) Thermal Conductance (Dry) 0.09 (0.10) 0.06 (0.02) -0.15 a (0.05) 0.09 (0.12) 0.04 (0.01) 0.44 a (0.05) Core Body Temperature -0.44 (0.17) -0.44 (0.12) 0.36 a (0.13) -0.35 (0.15) -0.45 (0.11) 1.49 a (0.37) Leg Temperature -16.96 (1.53) 0.00 (0.62) 2.54 (0.48) -19.15 (3.10) -0.11 (0.69) 3.31 (0.64) Skin Temperature -2.39 (1.80) -1.21 (1.86) 2.61 (1.34) -2.71 (2.43) -0.16 (1.21) 2.48 (0.68) Feather Temperature -8.99 (1.67) 1.15 (0.39) 5.45 (0.73) -11.01 (1.49) 0.73 (0.63) 3.86 (1.54) Head Skin Temperature -3.03 b (1-37) -0.16 (0.45) 2.30 (0.73) 0.7 l b (0.33) 1.11 (0.43) 2.96 (0.42) Frontal Caruncle Temperature -1.98 (1.05) -0.71 (0.70) 1.46 (0.63) -5.48 (4.56) 1.59 (0.80) 3.94 (0.82) Dewlap Temperature -0.20 (0.77) -1.94 a (1.06) 2.89 (0.78) -0.87 (0.56) 2.53 a (0.52) 2.70 (1.18) Statistically significant differences between values of uninsulated and insulated birds at the same temperature have the following probabilities: a <0.01; b <0.05; 0.09> c >0.05.

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75 OC 22 C 35 C 6>0 o d I I £3 U >• O 0.8 0.60.2 D D n _n d D D m D Individual Turkeys Figure 5-1 Oxygen consumption of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.

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76 OC 22 C 35 C # 8 o (SO a Q O O zuu150D D DD 100D 3 iD D 50o D "5-5n no 0Individual Turkeys Figure 5-2. Cooling capacities of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (rilled squares) at three ambient temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.

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77 OC 22 C 35 C U 8 o a -a a o u o l.f 1.21.0' 0.8i 0.6a 0.4• 0.2a E Hlflfl gi|E |H H H < Individual Turkeys Figure 5-3. Total thermal conductances of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.

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78 U oc 22 C 35 C I I M^— — —•—_ I 1 T3 O PQ § 5 1> so 6 2 oH iB n D -^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Individual Turkeys Figure 5-4. Change in core body temperature of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.

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79 correlated with higher head skin temperatures at C (both insulation treatments combined, r s = 0.54, p=0.05) and is associated with a tendency for lower rates of metabolic heat production (r s = -0.50, p=0.07). At 22 and 35 C, feather temperature inversely correlated with standing frequency (r s = -0.66, p=0.01 and r s = -0.52, p= 0.05, respectively). Head tucking occurred in eight of 16 trials by six different individuals at C. Higher frequencies of head tucking were positively, though only nearly significantly, correlated with changes in feather and dewlap temperatures (r s = 0.49, p=0.08 and r s = 0.50, p=0.05, respectively), and negatively correlated with changes in skin temperature (rho= -0.58, p=0.04), changes in core body temperature (r s = -0.54, p= 0.05), metabolic heat production (r s = -0.56, p= 0.05) and both total and dry conductance (r s = -0.56, p= 0.05 and r s = -0.66, p= 0.02, respectively). Discussion A dramatic cost of insulated heads and necks occurs in male wild turkeys at high temperatures. Insulated males had higher metabolic rates and markedly increased core body temperatures. Associated with this were increased dry and evaporative thermal conductances over uninsulated males at the same temperature. However the much lower cooling capacities of insulated males reveals their relative inability to dissipate metabolic heat by evaporative heat loss. These results demonstrate that the unfeathered heads and necks of male wild turkeys, and possibly the fleshy structures on the head, contribute to heat dissipation at high ambient temperatures. Contrary to expectations, under cold conditions head and neck insulation did not significantly reduce thermal conductance or increase metabolic heat production. Under cold conditions free living wild turkeys often contract the skin at the back of their necks, effectively drawing the feathered skin at the base of the neck up and over much of the usually bare areas of the back of the neck (personal observation). The captive wild turkeys in this study exhibited similar behavior, possibly explaining the absence of a difference in

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80 thermal conductance between uninsulated and insulated birds at C. Because winter starvation can be an important source of mortality for turkey populations in the northern part of their distribution (Healy 1992b), reducing heat loss from the head may enhance turkey survivorship. At night thermal conductance may be further decreased by tucking the head under the wing or back feathers. In this study four of the eight uninsulated individuals at C were seen to have their heads tucked during at least one of the observation periods. Three of these had lower metabolic rates than the remaining individuals, providing support for this explanation. LaRochelle et al. (1982) found a similar effect of head tucking in black vultures, which also have unfeathered heads. Additional studies of the effect of artificial and behavioral head insulation on heat production and loss in wild turkeys are needed at low temperatures. Other birds have modified unfeathered areas to control heat loss. Ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.), which live at high latitudes and altitudes where the difference between body temperature and ambient temperature can be large (e.g., > 60 C), often have legs and feet that are feathered (Johnsgard 1983). Other species limit heat loss in cold conditions with vascular modifications. Gulls (Laridae) have counter-current heat exchange mechanisms that reduce heat loss from the feet under cold conditions (Baudinette et al. 1976). The wood stork (Mycteria americana) and turkey vulture (Cathartes aura ) use their unfeathered legs to dump heat at hot temperatures and are able to enhance this mechanism of heat loss by defecating on their legs to promote evaporative heat loss (Kahl 1963; Hatch 1970). Ducks may utilize the large surface area of their bills to dissipate heat (Hagan & Heath 1980). The wild turkeys used in this study are the only species in which the value of unfeathered heads and necks for heat dissipation has been demonstrated experimentally. Previous studies of the metabolism of the wild turkey have ignored the metabolism of wild turkeys at temperatures above 25 C (Gray & Price 1988; Oberlag et al. 1990). The adaptive benefit of unfeathered heads demonstrated here suggests that peak effective temperatures during the reproductive season, especially in habitats without shade, may limit

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81 wild turkey distribution or population density. These results are reinforced by early studies on the temperature requirements of domestic turkeys. High ambient temperature (approximately 30 C) and exposure to direct sunlight may reduce male fertility by as much as 10% in Broad-Breasted Bronze turkeys, the domestic breed most similar in appearance to wild turkeys (Kosin & Mitchell 1955). Wilson and Woodard (1955) found that all domestic turkeys were subject to hyperthermia at ambient temperatures above 32 C, but that this was particularly true of large males. In addition body temperature and water consumption by domestic turkeys were inversely correlated with the percent shade cover provided at ambient temperatures above 35 C (Wilson et al. 1955; Wilson & Woodard 1955). Wild turkeys experienced heat stress at 35 C in the lab in this study. All males responded to hot chamber temperatures by panting, dropping their wings, and extending their necks and snoods. One individual (no. 1) even became frantic at the very end of both high temperature trials and was removed immediately. Behavioral changes that occur in free-living wild males under hot conditions provide similar support. Mature male turkeys in northern Florida seem to avoid bright sun and in the summer are found standing in heavy shade with dewlap and neck bright red and extended while panting heavily (personal observation). Also it seems that males are more reluctant to flee under these conditions and can be approached more closely than when it is cooler. Males are faced with a thermoregulatory quandry under hot, sunny conditions. Resting quietly in the shade maintains sublethal body temperatures but does not allow feeding, fighting for access to mates, or displaying to females. These latter activities, however, are also functionally and adaptively necessary, but result in metabolic heat production and exposure to solar radiation. Field studies of the behavior of wild turkeys relative to environmental conditions, including radiative heat load and wind speed, are needed to understand how males tradeoff thermal needs with feeding and mating success. The results of this study suggest that the bare head and neck of male wild turkeys enables wild turkeys to manage these conflicting goals more successfully.

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CHAPTER 6 GENERAL DISCUSSION The unfeathered, ornamented head of male wild turkeys has dual adaptive functions: it indirectly increases mating success and directly increases heat dissipation at high temperatures. The FS of wild turkeys increases mating success in two ways. Male snood length, is strongly correlated with both female choice and male dominance. A negative correlation between snood length and number of coccidia oocysts found in the feces suggests that females use male snood length to detect which males are resistant to this debilitating parasite. Females that mate with parasite-resistant males may have increased fitness if the male's parasite resistance is heritable, because her offspring will be better able to withstand the deleterious effects of parasitism. Longer snooded males were dominant over shorter snooded ones and all males avoided interaction with longer snooded artificial males. Males may avoid fighting with longer snooded males because of the risks of combatting males that are likely to be in better overall condition. In addition to these sexually selected functions for some aspects of the unfeathered head of wild turkeys, FS are used in thermoregulation. Turkeys whose head and ornamentation had been insulated as though covered with feathers were unable to dissipate heat at high temperatures. Although the thermoregulatory function of the uninsulated head was not experimentally attributed to any one part of the male's head ornamentation in this study, the distention of snoods by males at high temperatures suggest that this character may be used to dissipate heat. The mystery of FS maintenance and evolution in wild turkeys and other galliforms was not fully explained by the study of sexual selection and thermoregulation described above. The head ornamentation of wild turkeys has several components, only one of which, 82

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83 the snood, seemed to be under directional sexual and natural selection. In particular the functions of the distinctive side and front caruncles remain unexplained. These characters showed considerable variation that could be used by females and other males to discriminate among males. Why are these characters maintained? Multiple year, mate choice studies have shown that the characters that females seem to be assessing can vary somewhat from year to year. It is possible that mate choice may still be an important explanation for these characters. Additional studies are needed to address variation in character assessment over the lifetime of both males and females in this species. Side and frontal caruncles are highly vascularized structures that typically turn bright red during display due to increased blood flow. My experimental treatment did not selectively insulate these structures, but the increased surface area provided by these characters could serve to increase the dissipation of excess body heat over that dissipated by the plain bare skin. Thus caruncles may play a role in heat dissipation during male courtship display. It may be possible to remove caruncles or restrict blood flow to them to study their use in heat dissipation. Experimental studies such as this, coupled with field observations of thermoregulatory behavior patterns can clarify the reason fleshy characters characters other than the snood are maintained. The highly competitive nature of highly polygynous mating systems, such as the wild turkey's, is thought to select for increased body size in males. However large body size poses a problem for animals in hot climates because their reduced surface area to volume ratio makes it more difficult for these species to dissipate heat to the environment As described in the second chapter, fleshy structures are larger and more common in larger species. This suggests that the need for large fleshy structures in some species is caused by increased body size driven by intense sexual selection. Species living in cooler climates and small species in any climate should not experience the dilemma posed by hyperthermia, nor should species that have low metabolic rates. Studies of fleshy structures relative to body

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84 size and environmental temperatures in other avian taxa are needed to test the validity of this hypothesis. Studies of sexual selection rarely consider additional or alternative hypotheses for the function of ornamental characters. Sexual selection theory generally assumes that greater elaboration of sexually-selected traits carries with it decreased survival. The results presented in this dissertation suggest that sexual selection may not necessarily be at odds with natural selection. Instead sexual and natural selection may, in some cases, work in tandem. The costs of sexually-selected ornaments are assumed to be extreme. However attention to non-sexual hypotheses in addition to sexually-selected ones, may reveal that the apparent benefits of extravagant characters are multiple and far outweigh the costs. Heated debate between theoreticians on the evolutionary stability of different models of female choice for male characteristics, has narrowed consideration of other functions for so-called ornaments. My work suggests that a general skepticism of the ability of sexual selection to explain everything is warranted. "A good field worker is nobody's poodle" (Grafen 1987, p.221).

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LIST OF REFERENCES Abacus Concepts Inc. 1986. Statview 512+. Calabasas, CA, Abacus Concepts Inc. 1989. SuperANOVA. Berkeley, CA, Alatalo, R. V., Hoglund, J. & Lundberg, A. 1991. Lekking in the black grouse: a test of male viability. Nature (London), 352, 155-156. Allee, W. C, Collias, N. E. & Lutherman, C. Z. 1939. Modification of the social order in flocks of hens by the injection of testosterone proprionate. Physiol ZooL, 12, 412-439. Andersson, M. 1986. Evolution of condition-dependent sex ornaments and mating preferences: sexual selection based on viability differences. Evolution, 40, 804-816. Ashford, R. W., Palmer, T. T., Ash, J. S. & Bray, R. S. 1976. Blood parasites of Ethiopian birds: a general survey. J. Wildl. Dis., 12, 409-426. Atkinson, C. T. & van Riper in, C. 1991. Pathogenicity and epizootiology of avian haematozoa: Plasmodium, Leucocytozoon and Haemoproteus. In: Bird-Parasite Interactions (Ed. by J. Loye & M. Zuk), pp. 19-48, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Atkinson, C. T., Forrester, D. J. & Greiner, E. C. 1988. Pathogenicity of Haemoproteus meleagris (Haemosporina: Haemoproteidae) in experimentally infected domestic turkeys. J. Parasitol., 74, 228-239. Balmford, A, Thomas, A L. R. & Jones, I. L. 1993. Aerodynamics and the evolution of long tails in birds. Nature, 361, 628-631. Basolo, A. L. 1990. Female preference predates the evolution of the sword in swordtail fish. Science, 250, 808-810. Baudinette, R. V., Loveridge, J. P., Wilson, K. J., Mills, C. D. & Schmidt-Neilsen, K. 1976. Heat loss from the feet of Herring Gulls at rest and during flight. Am. J. Physiology, 230, 920-924. Beaugrand, J., Goulet, C. & Payette, D. 1991. Outcome of dyadic conflict in male green swordtail fish, Xiphophorus helleri : effects of body size and prior dominance. Anim. Behav., 41, 417-424. Bennett, A F., Huey, R. B., John-Alder, H. & Nagy, K. A 1984. The parasol tail and thermoregulatory behavior of the Cape Ground Squirrel. Xerus inauris Physiol. Zool., 57, 57-62. Bennett, G. F. & Herman, C. M. 1976. Blood parasites of some birds from Kenya, Tanzania and Zaire. J. Wildl. Dis., 12, 59-65. 85

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86 Bennett, G. F., Peirce, M. A. & Ashford, R. W. 1993. Avian haematozoa: mortality and pathogenicity. J. Nat ffisL, 27, 993-1001. Booth, D. T., Clayton, D. H. & Block, B. A. 1993. Experimental demonstration of the energetic cost of parasitism in free-ranging hosts. Proc. Royal Soc. London. B, 253, 125129. Borgia, G. 1979. Sexual selection and the evolution of mating systems. In: Sexual Selection and Reproductive Competition in Insects (Ed. by M.S. Blum & N. A. Blum), pp. 19-80, New York: Academic Press. Boyce, M. S. 1990. The red queen visits Sage Grouse leks. Amer. Zool., 30, 263-270. Bressler, G. O. & Gordeuk S. Jr 1951. Effect of cecal coccidiosis on body weight, egg production and hatchability in chickens. Poul.ScL, 30, 509-51 1. Brodsky, L. M. 1988. Ornament size influences mating success in male rock ptarmigan. Anim. Behav., 36, 662-667. Buchholz, R. 1989. Singing behavior and ornamentation in the Yellow-knobbed Curassow (Crax daubentoni) M.S. thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville. Buchholz, R. 1991. Older males have bigger knobs: correlates of ornamentation in two species of curassow. Auk, 108, 53-60. Buchholz, R. 1992. Confusing models with tests in studies of sexual selection: reply to Jones. Auk, 109, 199-201. Burley, N., Krantzberg, G. & Radman, P. 1982. Influence of colour-banding on the conspecific preferences of zebra finches. Anim. Behav., 30, 444-455. Burtt, E. H. 1986. An analysis of physical, physiological, and optical aspects of avian coloration with emphasis on wood-warblers. Ornithological Monographs, 38, 1-126. Calder, W. A. & King, J. R. 1974. Thermal and caloric relations of birds. In: Avian Biology. (Ed. by D.S. Farner & J.R. King), pp. 259-413. New York: Academic Press. Clutton-Brock, T. & Harvey, P. 1984. Comparative studies. In: Behavioural Ecology (Ed. by J. Krebs & N. Davies), pp. 7-29. Sunderland, MA.: Sinauer Assoc. Collias, N. E. 1943. Statistical analysis of factors which make for success in initial encounters between hens. Am. Nat, 77, 519-538. Crowe, T. M. 1979. Adaptive morphological variation in helmeted guineafowl Numida meleagris and crested guineafowl Guttera pucherani Ibis, 121, 313-320. Crowe, T. M. & Crowe, A A. 1979. Anatomy of the vascular system of the head and neck of the helmeted guineafowl Numida meleagris J. Zool. (London), 188, 221-223. Crowe, T. M. & Withers, P. C. 1979. Brain temperature regulation in Helmeted Guineafowl. South African Journal of Science, 75, 362-365.

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87 Davidson, W. R. & Wentworth, E. J. 1992. Population influences: diseases and parasites. In: The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management. (Ed. by J G. Dickson), pp. 101-143. Hanisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Davison, G. W. H. 1985. Avian spurs. J. Zool. (London), 206, 353-366. Delacour, J. & Amadon, D. 1973. Curassows and related birds. New York: American Museum of Natural History. Dewsbury, D. A. 1990. Fathers and sons: genetic factors and social dominance in deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus Anim. Behav., 39, 284-289. Dickson, J. A. 1992. The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management. Harrisburg, PA.: Stackpole Books. Emlen, S. T. & Oring, L. W. 1977. Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating systems. Science, 197, 215-223. Endler, J. A 1983. Natural and sexual selection on colour patterns in poeciliid fishes. Environ. Biol. Fishes, 9, 173-190. Enquist, M. & Arak, A. 1993. Selection of exaggerated male traits by female aesthetic senses. Nature, 361, 446-448. Fisher, R. 1958. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Forrester, D. J. 1991. The ecology and epizootiology of avian pox and malaria in wild turkeys. Bull. Soc.Vector Ecol., 16, 127-148. Forrester, D. J., Hon, L. T, Jr., L. E. W. & Austin, D. H. 1974. Blood protozoa of wild turkeys in Florida. J. Protozoology, 21, 494-497. Forrester, D. J., Humphrey, P. P., Telford, S. R. & Jr., L. E. W. 1980. Effects of bloodinduced infections of Plasmodium hermani on domestic and wild turkey poults. J. Wildl. Dis., 16, 237-244. Franklin, D. & Menkhorst, P. 1988. The bare facial skin of the Regent Honeyeater. Australian Bird Watcher, 12, 237-238. Gjesdal, A. 1977. External markers of social rank in willow ptarmigan. Condor, 79, 279281. Grafen, A. 1987. Measuring sexual selection: why bother? In: Sexual selection: Testing the Alternatives (Ed. by J. Bradbury & M. Andersson), pp. 221-233. New York: J Wiley & Sons. Grafen, A. 1990a. Biological signals as handicaps. J. Theor. Biol., 144, 473-516. Grafen, A. 1990b. Sexual selection unhandicapped by the Fisher process. J. Theor. Biol., 144,516-546. Gray, B. T. & Price, H. H. 1988. Basal metabolism and energetic cost of metabolism in wild turkeys. J. Wildl. Manag., 52, 133-137.

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88 Greiner, E. C, Bennett, G. F., White, E. M. & Coombs, R. F. 1975. Distribution of the avian haernatozoa of North America. Can. J. ZooL, 53, 1762-1787. Griffen Productions 1990. America's Wild Turkey. Video. Rhinebeck, NY, Hagan, A. A. & Heath, J. E. 1980. Regulation of heat loss in the duck by vasomotion in the bill. J. Therm. Biol., 5,95-101. Hamilton, W. D. & Zuk, M. 1982. Heritable true fitness and bright birds: a role for parasites? Science, 218, 384-387. Harvey, P. H. & Pagel, M. D. 1991. The Comparative Method in Evolutionary Biology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hatch, D. E. 1970. Energy conserving and heat dissipation mechanisms of the Turkey Vulture. Auk, 87, 111-124. Healy, W. M. 1992a. Behavior. In: The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management (Ed. by J G. Dickson), pp. 46-65. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Healy, W. M. 1992b. Population influences: environment In: The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management (Ed. by J G. Dickson), pp. 129-143. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Heisler, L., Andersson, M. B., Arnold, A. J., Boake, C. R, Borgia, G., Hausfater, G., Kirkpatrick, M., Lande, R., Smith, J. M., O'Donald, P., Thornhill, A. R & Wessing, F. J. 1987. The evolution of mating preferences and sexually selected traits. In: Sexual Selection: Testing the Alternatives (Ed. by J. Bradbury & M. Andersson), pp. 97-1 18. NY: J Wiley & Sons. Henneman, W. I. 1988. Energetics and spread-winged behavior in Anhingas and DoubleCrested Comorants: risks of generalization. Amer. Zool., 28, 845-851. Hill, G. E. 1994. Geographic variation in male ornamentation and female mate preference in the house finch: a comparative test of models of sexual selection. Behav. Ecol., 5, 64-73. Hill, R., Beaver, D. & Veghte, J. 1980. Body surface temperatures and thermoregulation in Black-capped Chickadees (Parus atricapillus) Physiol. ZooL, 53, 305-321. Hillgarth, N. 1990. Parasites and female choice in the Ring-necked Pheasant. Amer. Zool., 30, 227-233. Holder, K. & Montgomerie, R. 1993. Context and consequences of comb displays by male rock ptarmigan. Anim. Behav., 45, 457-470. Hollett, K., Thomas, V. & MacDonald, S. 1984. Structural and functional aspects of supraorbital combs of grouse. International Grouse Symposium, York, 3, 193-21 1. Hon, L. T., Forrester, D. J. & Williams, L. E. Jr 1975. Helminths of wild turkeys in Florida. Proc. Helminthol. Soc.Wash., 42, 119-127. Hon, L. T., Forrester, D. J. & Williams, L. E. Jr 1978. Helminth acquisition by wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo osceola) in Florida. Proc. Helminthol. Soc.Wash., 45, 211218.

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89 Hudson, P. J. & Dobson, A. P. 1991. The direct and indirect effects of the caecal nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis on red grouse. In: Bird-Parasite Interactions (Ed. by J. Loye & M. Zuk), pp. 49-68. New York: Oxford University Press. Hurst, G. A. 1992. Foods and Feeding. In:The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management. (Ed. by J.G. Dickson), pp. 66-83. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Johnsgard, P. 1983. The Grouse of the World. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Johnsgard, P. 1986. The Pheasants of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Johnsgard, P. 1988. The Quails, Partridges and Francolins of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Johnson, K., Dalton, R. & Burley, N. 1993. Preferences of female American goldfinches (Carduelis tristis') for natural and artificial male traits. Behav. Ecol., 4, 138-143. Johnson, K. & Mazluff, J. 1990. Some problems and approaches in avian mate choice. Auk, 107, 296-304. Johnson, L. W. & Edgar, S. A. 1982. Responses to prolonged selection for resistance and susceptibility to acute cecal coccidiosis in the Auburn Strain Single Comb White Leghorn. Poult. Sci., 61, 2344-2355. Kahl, M. P. Jr 1963. Thermoregulation in the Wood Stork with special reference to the role of the legs. Physiol. Zool., 36, 141-151. Kelly, G. 1975. Indexes for aging eastern wild turkeys. In: Proceedings of the Third National Wild Turkey Symposium (Ed. by L.K. Halls), pp. 205-209. Edgefield, SC: National Wild Turkey Federation. Kirkpatrick, M. 1987. The evolutionary forces acting on female mating preferences in polygynous animals. In: Sexual Selection: Testing the Alternatives (J. Bradbury & M. Andersson), pp. 67-82. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. Kodric-Brown, A. 1989. Dietary carotenoids and male mating success: an environmental component to female choice. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 25, 393-401. Kodric-Brown, A. 1990. Mechanisms of sexual selection: insights from fishes. Ann. Zool. Fennici, 27, 87-100. Kodric-Brown, A. 1993. Female choice of multiple male criteria in guppies: interacting effects of dominance, coloration and courtship. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 32, 415-420. Kodric-Brown, A & Brown, J. 1984. Truth in advertising: the kinds of traits favored by sexual selection. Am. Nat, 124, 309-323. Korpimaki, E., Hakkarainen, H. & Bennett, G. F. 1993. Blood parasites and reproductive success of Tengmalm's owls: detrimental effects on females but not males? FuncL Ecol., 7, 420-426. Kosin, I. L. & Mitchell, M. S. 1955. Ambient temperature as a factor in turkey reproduction. Poul. Sci., 34, 499-505.

PAGE 99

90 Kruijt, J. P. 1964. Ontogeny of social behavior in Burmese red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus spadiceus) Behav. SuppL, 12, 1-201. LaRochelle, J., Delson, J. & Schmidt-Nielsen, K. 1982. Temperature regulation in the Black Vulture. Can. J. Zool., 60, 491-494. Ligon, J., Thornhill, R., Zuk, M. & Johnson, K. 1990. Male-male competition, ornamentation, and the role of testosterone in sexual selection in red jungle fowl. Anim. Behav., 40, 367-373. Lisano, M. E. & Kennamer, J. E. 1977. Seasonal variations in the plasma testosterone level in male eastern wild turkeys. J. Wildl. Manag., 41, 184-188. Lucas, A. & Stettenheim, P. 1972. Avian Anatomy: Integument Washington, DC: USDA Manning, J. 1985. Choosy females and correlates of male age. J. Theor. BioL, 116, 349354. Manning, J. 1989. Age advertisement and the evolution of the peacock's train. J. Evol. Biol., 2, 299-313. Martin, P. & Bateson, P. 1986. Measuring Behaviour. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McClure, H. E., Poonswad, P., Greiner, E. C. & Laird, M. 1978. Haematozoa in the Birds of Eastern and Southern Asia. St. John's, Newfoundland: International Reference Centre for Avian Haematozoa. McKinney, F., Sorenson, L. G. & Hart, M. 1990. Multiple functions of courtship displays in dabbling ducks (Anatini). Auk, 188-191. McNab, B. K. 1988. Fn^rgy conservation in a tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) and the red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Physiol. Zool., 61, 280-292. Miller, J. E. & Leopold, B. D. 1992. Population influences: predators. In: The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management (Ed. by J. G. Dickson), pp. 1 19-128. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. M0ller, A. P. 1987. Social control of deception among status signalling house sparrows Passer domesticus Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 20, 307-311. Morony, J. J. Jr., Bock, W.J. & Farrand, J. Jr. 1975. Reference list of the birds of the world. DepL of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History, New York. Moss, R., Kolb, H., Marquiss, M., Watson, A., Treca, B., Watt, D. & Glennie, W. 1979. Aggressiveness and dominance in captive red grouse. Aggressive Behavior, 5, 59-84. Oberlag, D. F., Pekins, P. J. & Mautz, W. W. 1990. Influence of seasonal temperatures on wild turkey metabolism. J. Wildl. Manag., 54, 663-667. Ogbuokiri, U. D. E. & Edgar, S. A. 1986. Effect of infections with Eimeria spp. on sperm production of broiler strain sires. Poult. Sci., 65, 184-185.

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91 Oosthuizen, J. H. & Markus, M. B. 1967. The Haematozoa of South African birds. I: Blood and other parasites of two species of game birds. Ibis, 109, 115-117. Oosthuizen, J. H. & Markus, M. B. 1969. The haematozoa of South African birds. V: Report on blood smears collected by the September 1967 Percy FitzPatrick Institute expedition to the Chobe. Ostrich, 40, 21-22. Pagel, M. & Harvey, P. 1988. Recent developments in the analysis of comparative data. Q. Rev. Biol., 63, 413-440. Parker, G. A. 1974. Assessment strategy and the evolution of fighting behaviour. J. Theor. BioL, 47, Payne, R. B. 1984. Sexual selection, lek and arena behavior, and sexual size dimorphism in birds. Ornithol. Monog., 33, 1-52. Peirce, M. A. 198 1 Distribution and host-parasite checklist of the hematozoa of birds in Western Europe. J. Nat. Hist, 15, 419-458. Pelham, P. H. & Dickson, J. G. 1992. Physical Characteristics. In:The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management (Ed. by J.G. Dickson), pp. 32-45. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Powell, J.A. 1965. The Florida Wild Turkey. Tech. Bull. No. 8, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee, FL. Prestwood, A. K., Kellogg, F. E. & Doster, G. L. 1973. Parasitism and disease among southeastern wild turkeys. In: Wild Turkey Management: Current Problems and Programs (Ed. by G.C. Sanderson & H.C. Schultz), pp. 159-167. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. Randi, E., Fusco, G., Lorenzini, R. & Crowe, T. 1991. Phylogenetic relationships and rates of allozyme evolution within the Phasianidae. Biochem. Syst Ecol. 19, 213-221. Read, A. 1987. Comparative evidence supports the Hamilton and Zuk hypothesis on parasites and sexual selection. Nature, 328, 68-70. Reichholf, J. 1988. Macht der Sperbergeier Gyps rue ppellii ein "Drohgesicht". Verhalten Ornithologische Geselschaft Bayern, 24, 751-755. Richner, H. 1989. Phenotypic correlates of dominance in carrion crows and their effects on access to food. Anim. Behav., 38, 606-612. Rohwer, S. 1975. The social significance of avian winter plumage variability. Evolution, 29, 593-610. Rohwer, S. 1977. Status signalling in Harris 1 sparrows: some experiments in deception. Behaviour, 61, 107-129. Ruff, M. 1988. Effect of coccidiosis on reproductive maturation of male Japanese Quail. Avian Dis., 32, 41-45. Ruff, M. D., Fagan, J. M. & Dick, J. W. 1984. Pathogenicity of coccidia in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) Poul. ScL 63, 55-60.

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92 Ruff, M. D., Reid, W. M. & Johnson, J. K. 1974. Lowered blood carotenoid levels in chickens infected with coccidia. Poul. Sci., 53, 1801-1809. Ruff, M. D., Schorr, L., Davidson, W. R. & Nettles, V. F. 1988. Prevalence and identity of coccidia in pen-raised wild turkeys. J. Wildl. Manag., 24, 71 1-714. Ruff, M. D. & Wilkins, G. C. 1987. Pathogenicity of Fjmeria lettyje. (Ruff 1985) in the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus L.). J. Wildl. Dis., 23, 121-126. SAS Institute Inc. 1989. JMP User's Guide Version 2. Cary, NC, Sasseville, V. G, Miller, B. & Nielsen, S. W. 1988. A pathologic study of wild turkeys in Connecticut. Cornell Veterinarian, 78, 353-364. Siegel, S. 1956. Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. New York: McGraw-Hill. Sokal, R. R. & Rohlf, F. J. 1981. Biometry. New York: W H Freeman and Co. Spurrier, M. F., Boyce, M. & Manly, B. F. 1991. Effects of parasites on mate choice by captive sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) In: Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution of Bird-Parasite Interactions (Ed. by J. Loye & M. Zuk), pp. 389-398. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Steffen, D. E., Couvillion, C. E. & Hurst, G. A 1990. Age determination of eastern wild turkey gobblers. Wild. Soc. Bull., 18, 119-124. Stokkan, K. 1979. Testosterone and daylength-dependent development of comb size and breeding plumage and comb growth in male willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus lagopus ). Auk, 96, 106-115. Sullivan, M. S. 1994. Mate choice as an information gathering process under time constraint: implications for behaviour and signal design. Anim. Behav., 47, 141-151. Thiessen, D. D. & Kittrell, E. M. W. 1979. Mechanical features of ultrasound emission in the mongolian gerbil. Amer. Zool., 19, 509-512. von Schantz, T., Goransson, G., Andersson, G., Froberg, I., Grahn, M., Helgee, A. & Wittzell, H. 1989. Female choice selects for a viability-based male trait in pheasants. Nature, 337, 166-169. Watts, C. R. & Stokes, A W. 1971. The social order of turkeys. Scientific American, 224, 112-118. Welty,J.C. 1975. The Life of Birds. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Co. White, E., Greiner, E. C, Bennett, G. F. & Herman, C. F. 1978. Distribution of the hematozoa of Neotropical birds. Rev. Biol. Trop., 26, 43-102. Whittow, G. 1986. Regulation of body temperature. In: Avian Physiology (Ed. by P.D Sturkie), pp. 221-252. New York: SpringerVerlag.

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93 Williams, L. & Austin, D. 1988. Studies of the Wild Turkey in Florida. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida. Wilson, W. O., Edwards, W. H., Plaister, T. L., Hillerman, J. & Woodard, A. 1955. The shade requirement of growing turkeys. Poul. Sci., 34, 505-508. Wilson, W. O. & Woodard, A. 1955. Some factors affecting body temperatures of turkeys. Poul. Sci., 34, 369-37 1 Wingfield, J. C, Ball, G. F., Dufty, A M. Jr, Hegner, R. E. & Ramenofsky, M. 1987. Testosterone and aggression in birds. Am. Sci., 75, 602-608 Wink, M. & Bennett, G. F. 1976. Blood parasites of some birds from Ghana. J. Wildl. Dis., 12, 587-590. Withers, P. & Crowe, T. 1980. Brain temperature fluctuations in helmeted guineafowl under semi-natural conditions. Condor, 82, 99-100. Zahavi, A. 1975. Mate selectiona selection for a handicap. J. Theor. Biol., 53, 205-214. Zuk, M., Johnson, K., Thornhill, R. & Ligon, J. 1990a. Mechanisms of female choice in red jungle fowl. Evolution, 44, 477-485. Zuk, M., Ligon, J. D. & Thornhill, R. 1992. Effects of experimental manipulation of male secondary sex characters on female mate preference in red jungle fowl. Anim. Behav., 44, 999-1006. Zuk, M., Thornhill, R., Ligon, J. & Johnson, K. 1990b. Parasites and mate choice in red jungle fowl. Amer. Zool., 30, 235-244.

PAGE 103

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Richard Buchholz was born in Manhasset, New York, on 5 November 1964 and grew up in nearby Little Neck. His early interest in biology was satisfied by wandering the salt marshes and seashore along Little Neck Bay on Long Island Sound and exploring the forest during summer trips to his uncle's home in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania. He majored in biology at the State University of New York at Binghamton and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, with outstanding overall performance and distinguished independent study in biological sciences, in June 1986. Subsequently he studied the reproductive behavior of the yellow-knobbed curassow in the wild in Venezuela and in captivity in Mexico for his Master of Science degree, which was granted by the University of Florida, Department of Zoology, in August 1989. This work led to his interest in the costs and benefits of wattles, ceres and similar structures in birds. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Department of Zoology, University of Florida in August 1994. 94

PAGE 104

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable l„Jl%i^%**** anally adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. H: Jane Brockmanrv Chairman Professor of Zoology I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable stand JSoSly P^entation and i fully adequate, in scope and quahty, as a .• ._*:„„ e^iu* Aoarpt* of Doctor of Philosophy. stanaaras 01 sunui
PAGE 105

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it ™^ to J?fP table stand Js of sc'holarly presentation and Lis fully adequate, In scope an^fty, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Jllis C. Greiner Professor of Veterinary Medicine sSSaffia^SSSSSSSa August, 1994 7 S&aJI<

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
My advisor, Jane Brockmann, has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping
me with this project I will always be grateful for her enthusiasm, advice, instruction,
guidance, constructive criticism and support Little did I know that an academicumwelt is
learned as well as innate, just like everything else.
This study would not have been possible without the help of the rest of my
committee. Ellis Greiner kindly taught me parasitology and allowed me to use his lab. He
has also been very tolerant of the strange questions we ask over on this side of Archer Rd.
Rich Kiltie has thought carefully about the theoretical underpinnings and techniques I have
used to study fleshy structures. He directed me at several crucial turning points and made
me realize the consequences of my assumptions (although I suspect he does not find
turkeys very aesthetically pleasing). Doug Levey has always encouraged and helped me by
considering even my wackiest ideas with tact He is also my secret source for everything
"birdy." Brian McNab taught me about physiological ecology and generously allowed me
to use his lab. Dave McDonald has served as a "ghost" committee member and a friend
during my entire graduate career.
Literally dozens of people helped catch, handle and process wild turkeys. I am
grateful for their help. This study would not have been possible without it. In particular I
would like to thank those who helped me several times, including Laurie Eberhardt, Ron
Clouse, Paula Cushing, and Monica Marquez. Farol Tomson and Frank Nordlie found a
place to keep the turkeys, the Department of Zoology paid the costs of maintaining them,
and Chris Wilcox and her crew helped care for the turkeys when I was out of town. The
Florida Museum of Natural History, University Athletic Association and Frank Maturo


32
thought to be assessed by females in the live male experiment is not merely the correlate of
another unmeasured character actually under assessment by females.
Live male experiment
Live males. Thirty-three, 20-month old males were exposed to an artificial
photoperiod of 14 hours for four weeks prior to and during the mate choice tests. Prior to
the mate choice trials, males were classified as "displayers" or "nondisplayers" based on
whether they strutted consistently during a half hour observation period on each day of the
week before the first trials. During the trials no "nondisplayers" became "displayers," but
the reverse was true. The 11 males classified as consistent displayers were used in the mate
choice trials. Seven ornamental characters were measured prior to the first trial. Relaxed
snood length was measured from the point of attachment at its base to the tip with a small
ruler. The snood was measured again after being stretched by attaching a clip to the tip of
the snood and pulling on the clip with a Pesla scale to a tension of 30 g. The maximum
vertical and horizontal diameter of each frontal caruncle, as well as its thickness, was
measured with a ruler. The radii of the frontal caruncles was converted to an approximation
of total caruncle area using the equation for the area of an ellipse (A=ab7t). The red, polyp
like projections on the neck called side caruncles were counted. The width of each half of
the thickened, whitish skullcap was measured by placing the ruler in a line from the most
posterior point at which the skullcap halves meet along the middle of the cranium to a point
dorsal to the middle of the eye. The beard was measured from where the "hairs" leave the
skin to its greatest length. Briefly, tarsal spur length was measured from where the spur
enters the scaled skin to the distal tip (Kelly 1975). Tarsus length was measured from the
articulation of the tarsometatarsus with the tibiotarsus to the third scute of the central
phalange of the foot Weight divided by tarsus length was used as an index of male body
condition and is referred to as such or merely as male condition.


47
populations, and if resistance to coccidia in wild turkeys is heritable as it is in domestic
poultry (Johnson & Edgar 1982), females that choose mates that are resistant to Eimeria
would have greater fitness because their offspring are relieved of the deleterious effects of
these parasites. Thus female choice for male snood length appears to be a behavioral
adaptation against parasitism.
The beard, frontal caruncles and other aspects of male ornamentation were not
subject to female choice, despite the fact that there is some indication that they may also
indicate parasite burden. Why did females not discriminate among males by these
characters? There are three possible explanations. First and most obvious, is that the captive
turkeys of the eastern subspecies are not subject to the same selective pressures as the wild
osceola males sampled in Florida. Limited data suggest that parasite burdens may be lower
in the northern parts of the wild turkey's range (Sasseville et al. 1988) Second the apparent
trends between caruncle quality and other parasites may be the spurious result of using
multiple statistical tests. Larger sample sizes of wild males are needed to document the
reliability of these other ornaments as indicators of parasite burden to females. Last, studies
of female choice in other galliformes have shown year to year shifting in some of the male
characters that are assessed (e.g., Zuk et al. 1992), suggesting that frontal caruncles, which
appear to be inversely correlated with parasite burden, may be important in mate assessment
in other years.
Threadworms, Trichostrongylus. have a dramatic effect on the fitness of some other
galliforms, particularly grouse (Hudson & Dobson 1991), but infections in wild turkeys are
generally not severe enough to cause pathologies (Davidson & Wentworth 1992) and
therefore it was not surprising that these nematodes did not affect the degree of male
ornamentation. Similarly ectoparasite burdens were low and probably have a subtle,
cumulative effect on male condition not readily revealed by ornamentation (e.g., Booth et al.
1993).


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Richard Buchholz was bom in Manhasset, New York, on 5 November 1964 and
grew up in nearby Little Neck. His early interest in biology was satisfied by wandering the
salt marshes and seashore along Little Neck Bay on Long Island Sound and exploring the
forest during summer trips to his uncle's home in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania.
He majored in biology at the State University of New York at Binghamton and
graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, with outstanding overall performance and
distinguished independent study in biological sciences, in June 1986. Subsequently he
studied the reproductive behavior of the yellow-knobbed curassow in the wild in Venezuela
and in captivity in Mexico for his Master of Science degree, which was granted by the
University of Florida, Department of Zoology, in August 1989. This work led to his
interest in the costs and benefits of wattles, ceres and similar structures in birds. He
received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Department of Zoology, University of
Florida in August 1994.
94


67
1992). Males are twice as large as females, and have brightly colored unfeathered skin on
their heads and necks. In addition this skin is covered with polyp-like elaborations of the
integument called caruncles. A thin dewlap extends from the mandible down to the neck.
Perhaps most distinctive is the bare, distensible frontal process or snood that projects from
the forehead at the base of the upper bill.
Fleshy head ornamentation in wild turkeys and other galliformes is often thought to
be maintained by sexual selection, that is, it functions in mate choice and male-male
competition. Ample empirical evidence supports this contention (Brodsky 1988; Boyce
1990; Hillgarth 1990; Lign et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; Spurrier et al. 1991; Zuk
et al. 1992; Chapters 3 & 4;). A role in sexual selection, however, does not rule out
concurrent functions for these structures in thermoregulation. To understand why the
unfeathered areas of turkeys are maintained despite the possible costs in terms of heat loss,
the thermoregulatory tradeoffs faced by wild turkeys with feathered and unfeathered heads
must be assessed. Because all extant wild turkeys have bare heads, in this study I
experimentally insulate the heads and necks of turkeys, to assess the thermoregulatory
tradeoffs that ancestral turkeys may have faced at cold and hot temperatures.
Methods
Subjects and Apparatuses
Eight, two-year old, male wild turkeys, obtained as chicks from a game farm (L&L
Pheasantry, Flegins, PA, USA), were used in the metabolic trials. These birds were reared
as described in Chapter 3. Gray and Price (1988) showed no difference in the metabolic
rates of w ild turkeys from game farm or free-living sources. Average body weight of these
individuals was 7.1 kg (range 6.4-8.1 kg). During the study period (June-Sept 1993) the
birds were provided with feed (Purina Gamebird Maintenance, 12% protein) and water M
libitum. Subjects were denied food for 26-29 hrs immediately prior to each metabolic trial


27
examining the correlates of the preferred types of ornamentation in wild males, I investigate
how female choice may be maintaining the extravagant ornamentation of male wild turkeys.
Hypotheses of indirect benefits of female choice fall into two types: good genes and
arbitrary preferences. Both types predict that females will exert directional selection for the
more exaggerated form of male ornamentation (i.e. they prefer bigger, brighter, louder, etc.
forms of the trait). Good genes models propose that the character in question is assessed
by females because it is an indicator of the heritable vigor of the bearer. Male vigor or
viability is a measure of a male's ability to survive acute or chronic factors that limit fitness.
There are two principal types of good genes hypotheses. The handicap model (Grafen
1990a; Zahavi 1975) proposes that ornamentation reduces average male survival enabling
females to assess any individual male's ability to survive despite his burdensome ornament.
In this case females that choose to mate with more highly ornamented males have higher
fitness because of the increased survivorship of their female offspring, who carry the male's
superior survival genes but do not express the sex-limited genes for handicapping
ornamentation. Male offspring who have genes for the attractive handicap experience
increased mating success in addition to increased survivorship. In the other type of good
genes models, females are assessing male ornamentation because it specifically indicates a
second, less visible trait determining male fitness. Hamilton and Zuk (1982) propose that
females assess the quality of male ornamentation because these characters are particularly
good indicators of the parasite burden of the bearer. In the parasite-assessment model,
females benefit from choosing the more ornamented males because their offspring will
inherit the male's ability to avoid deleterious infection. In similar models, the male's
foraging success (Kodric-Brown 1989) or age (Manning 1985; 1989) is honestly indicated
by his ornamentation.
Arbitrary preference models, on the other hand, hypothesize that the character
reveals nothing of the abilities or heritable vigor of the male but is nonetheless preferred by
females. Fisher's (1958) theory of runaway selection proposed that an initial female


14
Fleshy structures as heat sinks
Crowe's (Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979b; Withers et al. 1980) studies of
behavior and FS variation in the helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris) show that wattle
size in this species is positively correlated with maximum daily temperature across its broad
geographic range. Biotelemetric measurements of the brain temperature of captive subjects
show that these birds maximally exposed FS in warm ambient temperatures and reduced
total thermal conductance by retracting them in cold temperatures. If FS have evolved for
this purpose, these predictions follow.
(i) Fleshy structures should be more likely to occur and FS size should be larger in
species living at lower altitudes and latitudes. As species ranges get further from the
equator they have less need for dissipating heat
(ii) Similarly sexual dimorphism in FS size should be reduced in species living at lower
altitudes and latitudes. As species ranges approach the equator, it becomes equally
important for both sexes to lose excess body heat.
(in) Change in FS size during display should be more pronounced nearer the equator if
these structures are used to dissipate the excess body heat generated by energetically active
display.
Solar collector
To maintain body temperature during cool conditions, FS may be used to absorb heat
from the environment instead of increasing metabolic activity (Burtt 1986). The predictions
of this hypothesis are the reverse of those for the Heat Sink hypothesis above.
(i) Fleshy structure occurrence and size should be positively correlated with upper
latitudinal and altitudinal limits of species.
(ii) Because it should be equally important for both sexes to collect radiation in colder
areas, sexual dimorphism in FS should be negatively correlated with altitude and latitude
(iii) Because intraspecific studies show that FS size changes only during sexual
displays and not outside of this context, it is unlikely that size change is important to


44
Table 3-4. Parasite loads of one-year-old, wild caught, male wild turkeys.
Parasite
% Occurrence (N)
Mean Load (SE)
ticks
head
100 (9)
8.4 (3.8)
wing
100 (9)
17.3 (3.5)
total
100 (9)
25.8 (5.9)
lice
back
50 (8)
2.0 (1.0)
rump
86 (7)
6.8 (2.3)
total
100 (7)
7.0 (2.8)
Eimeria oocvts
large
100 (9)
342.2 (190)
small
89 (9)
2276.2 (2042)
total
100 (9)
2618.4 (2214)
Trichostronsvlus eggs
total
56 (9)
22.3 (14.81)
Blood Parasites
Haemoproteus
86 (7)
7.3 (2.5)
Leucocytozoon
14 (7)
0.1 (0.1)
Plasmodium
43 (7)
0.6 (0.3)


70
base of the neck. The efficacy of using head socking to approximate the insulation
provided by normal feathering was determined by studying the warming curves of the
feathered and unfeathered/reinsulated heads of domestic roosters (Gallus gallus).
Six dependent thermoregulatory variables may be affected by head insulation.
Metabolic rate, as measured by oxygen consumption (cm3 02/g*hr), is a measure of the
work the animal does to maintain thermeostasis. Rate of evaporative water loss (g/hr) is a
measure of the heat lost via evaporation. Metabolic heat production (Hm) and evaporative
heat loss (He) can be converted to common units (mW/g) to compare the cooling capacity
of the animal in different treatments. Cooling capacity is the ability of the animal to
dissipate metabolically produced heat by evaporation. It is expressed as a percentage,
calculated as the heat lost by evaporation divided by the heat produced by metabolism
(100% x He/Hm; Calder & King 1974). Total thermal conductance (mW/cm2 C)
measures all the heat lost by the animal, including evaporative heat loss, and is the inverse of
insulation. It is estimated using the values for heat production, and ambient and body
temperatures. Dry thermal conductance on the other hand is a measure of all
nonevaporative means of heat loss: radiation, convection and conduction. If total
conductance is exceeded by heat production, heat is stored in the tissues of the animal and
body temperature rises. Each of these variables may be varied by the animal to cope with
increased head and neck insulation.
Thermoregulatory trials were conducted twice for each turkey at each of three
ambient temperatures (0,22,35 C); one time as a control, the other with its head insulated.
These temperatures were chosen to be below, within and above, respectively, the zone of
thermal neutrality (Gray & Price 1988). The temperatures are also within the range that
turkeys experience in the wild. A total of 48 trials were conducted. This matched design
compares the metabolic values of each turkey in the experimental treatment to the values
obtained from the same bird in the control treatment. This serves to minimize the effects of
inter-individual variation on the effect of the experimental treatment. Due to scheduling


87
Davidson, W. R. & Wentworth, E. J. 1992. Population influences: diseases and parasites.
In: The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management. (Ed. by J G. Dickson), pp. 101-143.
Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books.
Davison, G. W. H. 1985. Avian spurs. J. Zool. (London), 206, 353-366.
Delacour, J. & Amadon, D. 1973. Curassows and related birds. New York: American
Museum of Natural History.
Dewsbury, D. A. 1990. Fathers and sons: genetic factors and social dominance in deer
mice, Peromvscus maniculatus. Anim. Behav., 39,284-289.
Dickson, J. A. 1992. The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management. Harrisburg, PA.:
Stackpole Books.
Emlen, S. T. & Oring, L. W. 1977. Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating
systems. Science, 197,215-223.
Endler, J. A. 1983. Natural and sexual selection on colour patterns in poeciliid fishes.
Environ. Biol. Fishes, 9,173-190.
Enquist, M. & Arak, A. 1993. Selection of exaggerated male traits by female aesthetic
senses. Nature, 361,446-448.
Fisher, R. 1958. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon
Press.
Forrester, D. J. 1991. The ecology and epizootiology of avian pox and malaria in wild
turkeys. Bull. Soc.Vector Ecol., 16,127-148.
Forrester, D. I., Hon, L. T Jr., L. E. W. & Austin, D. H. 1974. Blood protozoa of wild
turkeys in Florida. J. Protozoology, 21,494-497.
Forrester, D. I., Humphrey, P. P., Telford, S. R. & Jr., L. E. W. 1980. Effects of blood-
induced infections of Plasmodium hermani on domestic and wild turkey poults. J. Wildl.
Dis., 16, 237-244.
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281.
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& Sons.
Grafen, A. 1990a. Biological signals as handicaps. J. Theor. Biol., 144,473-516.
Grafen, A. 1990b. Sexual selection unhandicapped by the Fisher process. J. Theor. Biol.,
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wild turkeys. J. Wildl. Manag., 52,133-137.


18
tests, so for the sake of brevity results given only for latitude. Except where noted latitude
refers to the mid-point of the species' range.
Results
Inter-individual Assessment
Immediate benefits
FS were more common and more elaborate in non-monogamous mating systems.
However after the effects of body size were removed, there was no difference in the
occurrence or size of FS between monogamous and non-monogamous taxa (Table 2-2 and
2-3). Sexual dimorphism in FS size was significantly reduced in monogamous species.
Good genes models
Reshy structures were not more common or larger in more showy species. However,
sexual dimorphism in FS size was positively correlated with sexual dichromatism (Table 2-
3). Species with elaborate tails were more likely to have FS at the tribe level. Reshy
structures were not significantly more common in polygynously mating species, nor did FS
size increase with number of spurs or the degree of spur dimorphism. Although sexual
dimorphism in FS size at the species level was significantly greater in species with above
median spur dimorphism, this relationship did not persist at higher taxonomic levels. The
occurrence and elaboration of FS was positively correlated with sexual size dimorphism, but
this relationship is probably due the fact that more dimorphic species are also larger species.


49
mate choice are not good indicators of male age because age covaries with body condition.
A larger sample size is needed to tease apart these two variables. For example, more field
data are needed to determine if the snood lengths of heavily parasitized, older males are
shorter than lightly parasitized, younger males. In any case snood length within one age
class appears to be a reliable cue to the body condition of the bearer as well as to the
coccidia burden among males.
The handicap model for the maintenance of male ornamentation proposes that
females assess a male's ability to survive despite his burdensome ornaments. Field
experiments that record the reproductive success and survivorship of manipulated males are
necessary to test this hypothesis. Nevertheless anecdotal observations provide some
support for the handicap model. The conspicuous ornamentation and courtship displays of
male wild turkeys attract predators and are thought to increase their risk of predation (Miller
& Leopold 1992). The uninsulated bare head of males may also represent a
thermoregulatory handicap. Birds generally lose large quantities of heat from feathered
heads (Hill et al. 1980). Unfeathered heads such as the turkey's should lose even more heat
and may hasten male starvation during severe winter storms. Since there is no clear
advantage to having bare heads in winter, it seems reasonable to suggest that the bare heads
of male wild turkeys may have evolved as a handicap. Similarly other forms of male
ornamentation, such as the beard and fanned tail, might serve as handicaps.
This study suggests that the snood and skullcap of males are maintained by female
choice for males with low burdens of coccidia. Also these traits may be used by females to
choose older males as mates and perhaps males that have more body fat Snood length and
skullcap appear to be the only aspects of male ornamentation under direct selection by
females. The selective pressures maintaining the striking array of extravagant
ornamentation of wild turkeys is only partly explained. Males have strikingly colored
caruncles on their head and neck, a long beard projecting from their chest iridescent
feathers and a large fan-like tail that are apparently not subject to female choice, but may


78
O C 22 C 35 C
Figure 5-4. Change in core body temperature of eight turkeys with heads
uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.


37
Inc. 1986). Where appropriate, mean values in the results are followed by the standard
error of those measurements.
Male model experiment
Male models. Each female was admitted singly to an arena (Figure 3-2b) in which
she had a choice of interacting with either of two artificial males modified from plastic
hunting decoys of hens. These models were altered in the following ways to make them
appear like strutting males. The heads of the two decoys were painted simultaneously with
alternating brush strokes of enamel paint so that they resembled one another as closely as
possible. The skullcap was painted a light blue, the orbital area a dark blue, the dewlap and
throat were painted red, the sides and back of the neck were painted pink with narrow red
rings applied around the circumference. Natural beards were removed from two domestic
turkey gobblers. Each beard was divided in two, with equal numbers of "hairs," and then
these were trimmed to 17 cm in length and applied to the models.
The decoys have a closed tail, typical of a resting bird. However strutting males
have a fanned tail. Two artificial fans were constructed from colored poster board, glue and
black permanent marker. The vertical diameter of the tail was 33 cm and the horizontal
radius was 69 cm. The fanned tails were positioned just behind the wing tips of the decoys
and held in place from behind with two thin wooden dowels that were stuck in the ground to
stabilize the tail. The models themselves were mounted on a wooden dowel so that their
backs were at a height of 0.65 m. Strutting turkeys drag the primary feathers of their wings
on the ground, but I made no attempt to simulate this posture; the models had their wings in
the normal resting position on their sides.
To provide the sound of strutting, a recording of a single strut from a commercially
available video (Griffen Productions 1990) was played back alternately between the males
so that each male model "strutted" four times per minute. One small 5 watt speaker was
placed to the side and behind each male and aimed towards the area immediately in front of
the male. Using the individual volume controls on the speakers and a Tandy sound meter, I


Gordian knots. Monica Marquez made sure I finished my NSF grant application and has
always been an encouraging friend. Margaret Byrne and Gerry Ryan have been kind to me
in many ways. I value my friendship with each of them and hope they figure out what they
are looking for. Rene Calarco and Barbara Crate helped me get here, helped keep me here,
and were always there. Maggie and Ted would not be happy about being mentioned in the
same sentence, but I cherished them both. John, Tom, Bubba and Jane taught me alot about
turkeys; may they rest in peace.
Last, but not least, I thank the office staffs: Carol "Sweet Cheeks" Binello, Alice
"Glamour Girl" McClaughry, Janet "Green Thumb" Zeigler, Lynda Everitt, Lori "Where
Are You Going?" Clark, Ruth Ann Czerenda, Evelyn Rockwell, Kenetha "I've Got my Eye
on You" Johnson, Tangelyn "You're Crazy" Mitchell and, of course, Grade "Babes" Kiltie.
Also thanks to Pete in the stockroom. They kept life in Bartram and Carr interesting and
smoothed over the red tape. Keep up the great job!
My research was funded by the Department of Zoology at the University of Florida,
a Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fund Grant in Ornithology from the American Museum of
Natural History, a grant-in-aid of research from Sigma Xi, the Animal Behavior Fund of the
University of Florida Foundation, the Cracid Breeding and Conservation Center, and a
Threadgill Dissertation Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the
University of Florida.
v


50
instead play a role in male-male competition (Chapter 4) or be maintained because of its
other functions (Chapter 5).


33
Females. Twenty-three, 20-month old female wild turkeys were exposed to an
artificial photoperiod of 14 hours for four weeks prior to, and during, the mate choice tests
in January-March 1993.
Experimental design. The large cage used for housing the females was subdivided
into three sections to serve as a mate choice arena (Figure 3-2a). The female flock was
housed in one half of the aviary during the experiment Each female was admitted singly to
the choice area through a door in the opaque plastic barrier that prevented the untested
females from seeing the displays of the males or the choices made by subject females. An
additional opaque barrier prevented the males from directly interacting with one another.
The subject female was separated from the males by hardware cloth that had been painted
black to make it less visible. Each female was tested only once and was presented with a
unique pairing of males that was never presented to any other female. In total 11 males
were used 2-4 times each (mean= 3.3); there was not a significant correlation between the
number of times each male was presented and the frequency of female choice (Spearman
Rank Correlation, rs=0.51, P= 0.14). Males were assigned to the two display areas
randomty on the afternoon before the trial. Only one trial was conducted in any 24 hr
period from 14 Jan-12 March 1993, between 08:00-16:00 hrs. During the ten minute pre
trial period before the female was admitted, the frequency of spontaneous strutting by each
male and the degree of snood distention (on a scale of 0-4) were recorded. Snood
distention was recorded again immediately after the female was admitted and strutting
frequency was recorded until the female solicited one of the males. Females revealed their
choice of mate by "crouching" (Healy 1992a), a conspicuous mating solicitation posture
exhibited in front of the chosen male. The time spent by the female in front of each male
was also recorded until solicitation. Trials in which females did not solicit within 30 min
were excluded from analysis. The two males from a failed trial were tested again with a new
female the next day.


92
Ruff, M. D., Reid, W. M. & Johnson, J. K. 1974. Lowered blood carotenoid levels in
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72
hottest temperature (Table 5-2). Dry thermal conductance decreased with increasing
temperature in the uninsulated birds. Insulated birds showed a similar pattern of
conductances at 0 and 22 C but had significantly higher values than uninsulated birds at 35
C.
Head insulation resulted in significantly greater core body temperature changes of
birds at 35 C, but not at the lower temperatures tested (Figure 5-4). Head insulation served
to keep head skin warmer at 0 C (31.2 1.0 C uninsulated vs. 36.7 0.3 C insulated),
but did not result in significantly higher skin temperatures at 22 and 35 C. Insulated
turkeys at 22 C increased their dewlap temperatures significantly more than uninsulated
birds (32.1 0.7 C uninsulated vs 35.2 0.3 C insulated), but this was not true at 0 or
35 C. Body skin, feather, frontal caruncle and leg temperatures all increased with
increasing ambient temperatures, but were not affected by the insulation treatment (Table 5-
1).
Across and within each temperature treatment, head insulation had no effect on the
proportion of instantaneous observations in which the subjects were seen to be standing,
panting, or had their head tucked in back feathers or under the wing (Mann-Whitney U
tests, N=16, all p0.05). Panting only occurred at 35 C. The frequency of panting was
difficult to observe because the birds often held their necks forward and down so that the
view from the small window was blocked by the bird's body. Therefore it is not possible to
look for associations between panting frequency and thermal balance. Nevertheless upon
opening the chamber at the end of the 35 C trials, panting and an elongated snood (only
visible in uninsulated trials) were observed in all individuals. Snood elongation did not
occur at other temperatures.
Although the proportion of observations in which the subjects were standing was
not influenced by the insulation treatment, the frequency of this behavior did influence some
of the dependent thermal variables. Frequency of standing was significantly


89
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component to female choice. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 25,393-401.
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reproduction. Poul. Sci., 34,499-505.


2
Combs, ceres, wattles and similar fleshy structures are widespread in the class Aves,
but are particularly common in the order Galliformes (quails, pheasants, grouse, curassows,
guans, megapodes). Despite the frequency of these fleshy characters, there has never been a
thorough examination of their adaptive significance. First, I conduct a comparative analysis
of the morphological and ecological correlates of FS in the Galliformes to test four
alternative hypotheses for the evolution of these anomalous structures (Chapter 2). These
hypotheses fall into two functional groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: (1)
inter-individual assessment and (2) thermoregulation. After examining the interspecific
correlates of fleshy ornamentation in this avian order, I evaluate these hypotheses in a local
galliform, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). in subsequent chapters.
Male wild turkeys are perhaps the most ornamented birds in North America. They
have iridescent feathers, a hair-like beard projecting from their chest and most notably an
unfeathered, bright red, white and blue head and neck. On the head and neck are three types
of extravagant fleshy projections. Perhaps the most remarkable is the distensible frontal
process or snood hanging over the bird's bill. At the base of the neck are large fleshy
protuberances called frontal caruncles and on the side of the neck are small polyp-like
fleshy structures called side caruncles. During display these fleshy structures change
markedly; the snood distends and the caruncles are flushed with blood and become bright
red. The association of this change with courtship suggests that these fleshy structures
affect mating success.
Sexual selection is divided into two subsets: female choice and male-male
competition for access to females. If female choice is an important selective factor
maintaining male fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys, variability in male ornamentation
should affect male mating success (Chapter 3). Similarly if male-male competition is a
significant selective pressure, variability in fleshy ornamentation should affect the outcome
of male-male interactions (Chapter 4). Two general models of female choice for male
fleshy structures are tested: "good genes" and "arbitrary preferences." Both types predict


56
pecking and kicking by each male during combat, the duration of the fight and the identity
of the male that stopped fighting first and began to flee. A dark shelter was provided in the
rear of the arena so that the subordinate male could hide from the aggressor. None of the
males was injured.
The characteristics of the dominant male were compared with those of the
subordinate in each trial with one-tailed Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks tests (Siegel
1956) or one-tailed, unpaired t-tests on principal component factor score differences. The
differences between the factor scores of the two males used in each trial, calculated as the
dominant male's scores minus the subordinate male's scores, are expected to be significantly
greater than zero if dominant males are more highly ornamented (as described in the
methods for Chapter 3). Correlations between time measurements and differences in male
ornamentation were determined using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient
Differences in ornamentation between subgroups of males, e.g., displayers and
nondisplayers, were tested for statistical significance with the Mann-Whitney U test.
Male Model Trials
Artificial males constructed from decoys were used to test the effects of male fleshy
ornamentation on the decision-making of Uve males. The use of models allowed for the
experimental control of male characteristics that usually covary with snood length. The
model males were exactly like those used in the mate choice experiments described earher
(Chapter 3), except that they did not have fanned tails and they were not accompanied by the
recorded display sounds. One male model had a long snood and many side caruncles
(highly ornamented) and the other had a shorter snood and fewer side caruncles (slightly
ornamented). The models were placed 1.3 m apart at one end of the rectangular arena
(Figure 4-lb). The relative positions of the highly ornamented and shghtly ornamented
models were randomized. Approximately 15 ml of bird seed was placed in a pile on the
ground immediately below the bill of each model. Males were denied food for a few hours
immediately before the trial, but this appeared to have Uttle impact on their behavior because


39
of time she spent in each model's half of the arena. A trial ended when the female solicited
or after 20 min had passed. Each female was tested only once.
Data analysis. If females chose mates at random with respect to male snood length
and caruncle number, an equal number of more ornamented and less ornamented males
should be solicited. However if females prefer males with the more elaborate form of these
traits, the more ornamented male should be solicited significantly more often. A Binomial
test (Siegel 1956) was used to test the statistical significance of the results.
Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males
Free-living male wild turkeys were captured and measured to determine if male
ornamentation serves as a good indicator of male viability. Yearling male wild turkeys were
captured with bait drugged with alpha chloralose (Williams & Austin 1988) at Paynes
Prairie State Preserve in Alachua Co., Florida, USA between February and March of 1991
and 1992. Ornamentation was measured as described above for captive males, with the
exception of skullcap width, which was not measured. Drugged birds were kept indoors in
boxes specially designed for transporting wild turkeys until they had recovered sufficiently
for safe release (24-96 hr).
The number of attached ticks on the head and neck and on the undersides of both
wings were counted. In addition the lice on the feathers of the chest, back and rump were
counted by lifting and scanning the feathers of each region for two minutes. Blood smears
were made from each individual using blood collected with a heparinized capillary tube from
the alar vein. The smears were air dried, fixed in 100% methanol, and stained. Blood
parasite burden was measured as the number of blood cells infected with hematozoa seen
per 30 minutes of scanning under oil immersion at lOOx. Fecal samples were collected 3x a
day from the boxes of the recovering birds. One gram from each sample was mixed with
20 ml of a saturated NaN3 solution and filtered through cheese cloth into a centrifuge
tube. The tube was filled to the very top so that a coverslip placed on the tube opening


79
correlated with higher head skin temperatures at 0 C (both insulation treatments combined,
rs= 0.54, p=0.05) and is associated with a tendency for lower rates of metabolic heat
production (rs= -0.50, p=0.07). At 22 and 35 C, feather temperature inversely correlated
with standing frequency (rs= -0.66, p=0.01 and rs= -0.52, p= 0.05, respectively).
Head tucking occurred in eight of 16 trials by six different individuals at 0 C.
Higher frequencies of head tucking were positively, though only nearly significantly,
correlated with changes in feather and dewlap temperatures (rs= 0.49, p=0.08 and rs= 0.50,
p=0.05, respectively), and negatively correlated with changes in skin temperature (rho=
-0.58, p=0.04), changes in core body temperature (rs= -0.54, p= 0.05), metabolic heat
production (rs= -0.56, p= 0.05) and both total and dry conductance (rs= -0.56, p= 0.05 and
rs= -0.66, p= 0.02, respectively).
Discussion
A dramatic cost of insulated heads and necks occurs in male wild turkeys at high
temperatures. Insulated males had higher metabolic rates and markedly increased core body
temperatures. Associated with this were increased dry and evaporative thermal
conductances over uninsulated males at the same temperature. However the much lower
cooling capacities of insulated males reveals their relative inability to dissipate metabolic
heat by evaporative heat loss. These results demonstrate that the unfeathered heads and
necks of male wild turkeys, and possibly the fleshy structures on the head, contribute to heat
dissipation at high ambient temperatures.
Contrary to expectations, under cold conditions head and neck insulation did not
significantly reduce thermal conductance or increase metabolic heat production. Under cold
conditions free living wild turkeys often contract the skin at the back of their necks,
effectively drawing the feathered skin at the base of the neck up and over much of the
usually bare areas of the back of the neck (personal observation). The captive wild turkeys
in this study exhibited similar behavior, possibly explaining the absence of a difference in


83
the snood, seemed to be under directional sexual and natural selection. In particular the
functions of the distinctive side and front caruncles remain unexplained. These characters
showed considerable variation that could be used by females and other males to discriminate
among males. Why are these characters maintained? Multiple year, mate choice studies
have shown that the characters that females seem to be assessing can vary somewhat from
year to year. It is possible that mate choice may still be an important explanation for these
characters. Additional studies are needed to address variation in character assessment over
the lifetime of both males and females in this species.
Side and frontal caruncles are highly vascularized structures that typically turn
bright red during display due to increased blood flow. My experimental treatment did not
selectively insulate these structures, but the increased surface area provided by these
characters could serve to increase the dissipation of excess body heat over that dissipated by
the plain bare skin. Thus caruncles may play a role in heat dissipation during male
courtship display. It may be possible to remove caruncles or restrict blood flow to them to
study their use in heat dissipation. Experimental studies such as this, coupled with field
observations of thermoregulatory behavior patterns can clarify the reason fleshy characters
characters other than the snood are maintained.
The highly competitive nature of highly polygynous mating systems, such as the
wild turkey's, is thought to select for increased body size in males. However large body size
poses a problem for animals in hot climates because their reduced surface area to volume
ratio makes it more difficult for these species to dissipate heat to the environment As
described in the second chapter, fleshy structures are larger and more common in larger
species. This suggests that the need for large fleshy structures in some species is caused by
increased body size driven by intense sexual selection. Species living in cooler climates and
small species in any climate should not experience the dilemma posed by hyperthermia, nor
should species that have low metabolic rates. Studies of fleshy structures relative to body


16
on a scale of 0-5. Sexual size dimorphism was calculated as the average male mass divided
by the average female mass. Mating system was ranked on a scale of 1-3 based on the
degree of polygyny thought to commonly occur in each species. The average number of
spurs on males of each species (Davison 1985) was included in the analysis as a measure of
male-male competition. Sexual dimorphism in spur number was measured as the female
value subtracted from the male value. Maximum and minimum altitudinal limits were
collected from species accounts and latitudinal limits were estimated from range maps.
Blood parasite prevalences (proportion of sampled individuals found to be infected) were
collected from regional surveys or reviews (Oosthuizen & Markus 1967; 1969; Greiner et
al. 1975, Ashford et al. 1976; Bennett & Herman 1976; Wink & Bennett 1976; McClure et
al. 1978; White et al. 1978; Peirce 1981).
Recently a number of new cladistic methods that control for the nonindependence of
data points due to shared phytogeny have been developed for comparative studies (Harvey
& Pagel 1991). Many of these assume a "true" phytogeny of the organisms under study.
Unfortunately the phytogeny of the Galliformes does not meet this condition because it is
in constant flux (Randi et al. 1991) and has had very few molecular studies at tower branch
points. The comparative technique I used controls for the effects of shared phytogeny by
averaging measurements within nested taxonomic subsets (i.e. averaging the species within
each genus, then genera within tribes) and examining the correlations of these averages at
each of these taxonomic levels. Pagel and Harvey (1988) have suggested conducting
statistical analyses of these data at the single taxonomic level that subsumes the most
variance. In the galliform data set analyzed here, most of the variance in FS characteristics
is found at the tribe or family level. The decision rule proposed by Pagel and Harvey has
drawbacks when comparative associations are studied within one avian order because
sample sizes are considerably reduced at higher taxonomic levels. Statistics cannot be
employed with only three values at the family level and tow sample sizes at the tribe level
carry with them a high risk of type II error; the inability to detect significant relationships


9
another individual and this information determines whether or how they interact).
Traditionally, sexual selection theory has been divided into two subdisciplines: female
choice and male-male competition. FS, then, may be used for assessment both by females
and by other males. Females may assess a male's parental ability, his ability to provide
access to resources, his genetically based viability, or other features (Johnson & Mazluff
1990). Similarly, males may use the same or different characters to assess other males
prior to aggressive interactions (Borgia 1979; McKinney et al. 1990), or rarely, females. A
true test of these hypotheses requires standardized studies of the mate choice and
competitive behavior of each species. Instead I have assumed that if FS are subject to
assessment, they will co-occur with other characters that have been shown to be subject to
assessment in other species. All inter-individual assessment hypotheses assume that
females prefer males with the most exaggerated FS and that males will not fight as readily
with such males.
Immediate benefits
A male's epigamic traits may reveal direct benefits to the female such as his ability to
provide parental care, to feed the female during courtship, or his dominance over good
foraging areas. Female choice on these characters is favored because she and her offspring
benefit directly, rather than receiving indirect benefits from increased survivorship under the
good genes models discussed below (Kirkpatrick 1987). If FS have evolved to signal a
male's ability to provide immediate benefits, then the following predictions can be made.
(i) Reshy structures will be most common and largest in breeding systems where males
most commonly provide immediate benefits to the female and her young (i.e. in
monogamy).
(ii) Because males and females have similar variance in mating success in monogamous
systems (Payne 1984), making mutual assessment more likely, the sexes can be expected to
be more similar in FS size than in non-monogamous species.


8
Figure 2-1. Diversity of fleshy structure size, shape and change during display in the
Galliformes. Unfeathered areas (FS) bordered by stippling, a) and b) bare orbit and eye
wattle of male Svrmaticus pheasant before and during display, respectively; c) bare orbit
and dewlap of Pipile guan; d) bare head, neck and collar wattle of brush turkey, Alectura: e)
bare orbit of male wood partridge, Rollulus: f) knob, cere and wattles of a male curassow,
Crax: g) eye combs of male black grouse, Tetrao during display; h) and i) cere and cere,
horns and throat lappet in male Tragopan before and during display, respectively.


Total Thermal Conductance (mW/cm2*C)
77
0 C 22 C 35 C
Figure 5-3. Total thermal conductances of eight turkeys with heads
uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.


63
Differences in several other male characters showed tendencies to be correlated with
the time until first contact and the duration of fighting. Males with similar spur lengths
fought each other sooner after meeting than dissimilar males. Spurs serve as weapons
during battle in a number of galliforms (Davison 1985) including wild turkeys, but none of
the evidence shows that the length of spurs affects the outcome of combat. In fact an
experimental field study in Sweden clearly demonstrated that variation in the length of spurs
is not a good predictor of dominance status in ringneck pheasants CPhasianus colchicus).
although this character is assessed by females during mate choice (von Schantz et al. 1989).
Spur length in wild turkeys is a reliable predictor of age (Kelly 1975) and older males tend
to be larger and in better condition (Chapter 3). Therefore spur length may normally be
assessed by competitors before battle in the wild where different aged animals encounter
one another, but is of little significance in the outcome of trials where males are of the same
age as was the case here.
Differences in the frequency of wingflapping bouts, a behavior associated with
aggressiveness in other galliforms, tended to be negatively correlated with time until first
contact However this behavior did not occur at a higher frequency in dominant individuals.
Similarly differences in beard length between males tended towards a negative correlation
with duration of fighting. The greater the difference in beard lengths between males the
more quickly they tended to resolve fights. However beard length was not a good predictor
of dominance status either. Beard length increases with age to some degree (Kelly 1975),
but is strongly affected by abrasion and thus is probably not a consistent indicator of age
across different habitats (Pelham & Dickson 1992). Studies of beard and spur
development relative to agonistic interactions in mixed-age populations are needed.
In captivity males classified as "displayers" had longer stretched snoods than
nondisplayers. I did not test the relative dominance of these two types of males. Off hand
it might seem reasonable to conclude that displayers will be dominant over nondisplayers
because displayers have longer stretched snoods. However more caution in interpreting the


7
Although it is ordinarily not possible to know the selective pressures under which any
trait evolved in the past, comparative analyses of the environmental, morphological and
ecological correlates of traits across species provide clues to the selective factors associated
with their evolution (Clutton-Brock & Harvey 1984). I conducted such an analysis to test
four alternative hypotheses for the evolution of FS in the Galliformes (quails, pheasants,
grouse, curassows, guans, megapodes). Galliformes are well suited for such a study
because their behavior, ecology and distributions are fairly well documented. They exhibit a
diversity of FS that are familiar to anyone who has seen a domestic chicken or turkey.
FS are not fleshy, that is, they contain very little muscle tissue. As used in common
parlance, however, "fleshy" accurately describes the soft or pliable nature of FS. Fleshy
structures (FS) vary greatly among taxa in size, shape, color and location and in their use
during display (Figure 2-1). Depending on the species, intraspecific variation in the color,
shape or presence of FS can be associated with sexual maturity (Hollett et al. 1984),
seasonal changes (Stokkan 1979), age (Buchholz 1991) and changes in motivation
(Johnsgard 1983; Franklin & Menkhorst 1988; Reichholf 1988). Consistent with the
extensive variation in the external morphology of FS is a wide range of hypotheses in the
literature on the adaptive functions of exposed skin in birds. These hypotheses generally
fall into two major, functional groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive; (1) inter
individual assessment and (2) thermoregulation. In the next section, I describe these
hypotheses and develop predictions for testing and distinguishing among them.
Hypotheses and Predictions
Inter-individual Assessment
The apparent association of FS with sexual maturity suggests that they are an important
form of sexual ornamentation. Several hypotheses suggest that sexual ornamentation
functions in inter-individual assessment (i.e. an individual evaluates the ornaments of


ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF FLESHY ORNAMENTATION IN
WILD TURKEYS AND RELATED BIRDS
By
RICHARD BUCHHOLZ
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1994


28
preference for a male character that came about by natural selection or genetic drift could
become genetically linked to the male trait, resulting in elaboration of the trait beyond its
original utility. Similarly other authors (Kirkpatrick 1987; Enquist & Arak 1993) suggest
that specific attributes of male characters, such as color, shape or frequency, elaborate over
evolutionary time because they more effectively stimulate existing biases in the sensory
system of the female. In these models male offspring of females exercising an arbitrary
preference have greater reproductive success due to the character they inherit Because the
arbitrary preference model is empirically distinguishable only by the absence of a
correlation between the male character and measures of male viability, it proves difficult to
test The arbitrary preference model remains a default or null hypothesis in studies where a
female preference is detected but the adaptive reason for the preference is not explained by
the good genes model (Buchholz 1991). The only way to distinguish between the good
genes and arbitrary models of female choice, when it is not possible to monitor the next
generation, is by examining the relationship between variation in ornamentation and
variation in male viability.
Extensive research on the factors limiting population size in wild turkeys suggests
three major selective pressures: diseases and parasites, predation, and weather (Dickson
1992). Population surveys have detected over 100 species of viral, bacterial, fungal,
protozoal, metazoal and arthropod parasites that may limit the fitness of turkeys (Davidson
& Wentworth 1992). Although the impact of most of these parasites on their hosts is
unknown, experimental studies using domestic or captive wild turkeys have suggested that a
poxvirus (Forrester 1991), a proventricular nematode (Hon et al. 1975; 1978), and blood
parasites (Forrester et al. 1974; 1980; Atkinson et al. 1988) have the most severe impact on
host survival, particularly of juveniles. High levels of predation on nests and on nesting or
brooding females is well documented (Miller & Leopold 1992). Finally weather conditions
in the northern areas of the wild turkey's range affect survivorship and fecundity.
Populations subject to deep snow can suffer widespread starvation and mortality


23
may be correlated with female choice, such as intestinal parasite prevalences. Even though
FS size was not correlated with the other measures of ornamentation, sexual dimorphism in
FS size was positively correlated with plumage dimorphism. This finding suggests that the
factors controlling these variables are the same. Because plumage dimorphism is generally
attributed to female choice for male brightness, sexual dimorphism in FS size may also be
explained by this selective pressure.
FS characteristics were strongly associated with the latitudinal distributions of species,
even after controlling for body mass. Fleshy structures were more common, larger and
more similar between the sexes in species nearer the equator. These results are consistent
with a heat dissipation function for FS, in congruence with intraspecific studies (Crowe
1979; Crowe & Withers 1979; Withers & Crowe 1980). Alternatively the inverse
correlation between size and latitude might be the result of the increased thermoregulatory
costs of having bare skin in colder regions. The increase in display change at higher
latitudes is also consistent with a cold-limiting rather than a heat-dissipation explanation.
However if cold temperatures limit FS size across species, one might expect that FS
occurrence and elaboration would be most strongly correlated with the maximum latitudinal
limit rather than the minimum limit This is not the case, suggesting that FS actively
function in dissipating metabolic heat in species living in warm climates.
Studies of sexual selection often neglect to propose and test nonsexual hypotheses for
the maintenance of ornamentation in birds and other taxa. Balmford et al. (1993) have
suggested that an ignorance of aerodynamics has led evolutionary biologists to attribute
incorrectly all long bird tails to evolution by sexual selection. They argue that some types
of long tails are not burdensome nor aerodynamically costly and thus would not make good
indicators of male condition. Similarly characters that were assumed to be maintained
solely for social signalling, such as the bushy tails of ground squirrels (Bennett et al. 1984)
or the ultrasound emissions of some rodents (Thiessen 1979), or for quite mundane
purposes like feeding, such as the flattened bill of most ducks (Hagan & Heath 1980), may


80
thermal conductance between uninsulated and insulated birds at 0 C. Because winter
starvation can be an important source of mortality for turkey populations in the northern
part of their distribution (Healy 1992b), reducing heat loss from the head may enhance
turkey survivorship. At night thermal conductance may be further decreased by tucking the
head under the wing or back feathers. In this study four of the eight uninsulated individuals
at 0 C were seen to have their heads tucked during at least one of the observation periods.
Three of these had lower metabolic rates than the remaining individuals, providing support
for this explanation. LaRochelle et al. (1982) found a similar effect of head tucking in black
vultures, which also have unfeathered heads. Additional studies of the effect of artificial and
behavioral head insulation on heat production and loss in wild turkeys are needed at low
temperatures.
Other birds have modified unfeathered areas to control heat loss. Ptarmigan
(Lagopus spp.), which live at high latitudes and altitudes where the difference between body
temperature and ambient temperature can be large (e.g., > 60 C), often have legs and feet
that are feathered (Johnsgard 1983). Other species limit heat loss in cold conditions with
vascular modifications. Gulls (Laridae) have counter-current heat exchange mechanisms
that reduce heat loss from the feet under cold conditions (Baudinette et al. 1976). The wood
stork (Mvcteria americana) and turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) use their unfeathered legs to
dump heat at hot temperatures and are able to enhance this mechanism of heat loss by
defecating on their legs to promote evaporative heat loss (Kahl 1963; Hatch 1970). Ducks
may utilize the large surface area of their bills to dissipate heat (Hagan & Heath 1980). The
wild turkeys used in this study are the only species in which the value of unfeathered heads
and necks for heat dissipation has been demonstrated experimentally.
Previous studies of the metabolism of the wild turkey have ignored the metabolism
of wild turkeys at temperatures above 25 C (Gray & Price 1988; Oberlag et al. 1990). The
adaptive benefit of unfeathered heads demonstrated here suggests that peak effective
temperatures during the reproductive season, especially in habitats without shade, may limit


45
significantly negatively correlated with the relaxed snood length of males (rs=-0.78, n=9,
P=0.03). Average burdens of the small eimerians showed a similar, though nonsignificant,
negative trend with relaxed snood length (rs=-0.63, n=9, P=0.07). The overall average
coccidia burden showed a very strong significantly negative correlation with relaxed snood
length (rs=-0.84, n=9, P=0.02).
Individuals with extremely high burdens of coccidia in one sample (e.g., tens of
thousands) never had samples with very low numbers of oocysts. Individuals with lower
burdens (e.g., hundreds of oocysts) generally had at least one sample in which no or few
oocysts were detected. It appears that heavily infected animals are subject to a more chronic
and potentially more debilitating release of oocysts from the gut than are animals with lower
infections, perhaps because more species of coccidia are causing the infection. If this is the
case, perhaps the minimum sample is a better indicator of susceptibility. Relaxed snood
length was not more strongly correlated with the lowest (or highest) burden sampled than
with the average total burden, although these measures were significantly or nearly
significantly negatively correlated with relaxed snood length (rs= -0.55 to -0.82, n=9,0.02

0.09). Stretched snood length on the other hand was not significantly associated with
average coccidia burden but was significantly negatively correlated with the lowest
measurements of the large, small and total eimerian burdens (rs= -0.66, -0.70, -0.70,
respectively; n= 9, P< 0.05). Also there were nonsignificant negative trends in correlation
between large, small and total lowest coccidia burden per male and frontal caruncle area (all
rs= -0.63, n=9, P=0.06) and between lowest burdens of small coccidia and frontal caruncle
depth (rs=-0.74, n=8, P=0.06). The tendency of some ornaments to be correlated with the
minimum sample burden suggest that this may be a more sensitive measure of parasite
burden than average or maximum burdens.
The thread nematode (Trichostrongvlus tenuis) was present in five of the nine males
sampled. Average nematode egg burdens were not correlated with male ornamentation,
body size or condition.


fleshy structures are maintained by female choice, females are expected to mate non-
randomly with respect to these characters. Females chose males with greater snood lengths
and skullcap widths. Males with longer snoods were more likely to be dominant in dyadic
encounters. In complementary field studies in north central Florida, male snood length was
found to be a "good genes" indicator of coccidia infection and body condition. Thus the
turkey's snood appears to be maintained by female choice for males who signal their genetic
quality.
The extensive vascularization of fleshy ornamentation suggests that it may function
in thermoregulation. By insulating the unfeathered bare heads and necks of wild turkeys, I
tested whether the fleshy ornamentation of this species is important in heat dissipation.
Insulated turkeys increased their oxygen consumption and experienced higher body
temperatures relative to uninsulated controls. These results concur with those of the
comparative study and suggest avian fleshy structures function in heat dissipation as well as
sexual selection. Nonsexual hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in animals
are rarely proposed, but are necessary to understand the evolution of these costly characters.
IX


68
to insure that they were post-absorptive. Post-absorptive conditions are necessary to
measure the basal or minimum rate of metabolism. Water was still available during the pre
trial period.
Oxygen consumption and total water loss were measured in an open system
(described by McNab 1988). The temperature of the 329 liter metabolic chamber was
regulated by pumping water from a water bath through the chamber's hollow walls. Room
air was sucked through the metabolic chamber, pumped into glass columns filled with soda
lime (to remove CO2) and silica gel (to remove H2O), after which flow rates, which averaged
20.61/min, were measured by a Brooks Sho-Rate flowmeter. Subsequently the airstream
was sampled with an Applied Electrochemistry S-3A oxygen analyzer. The temperature
and humidity of room air varied very little, 23.5 C (0.0) and 61.2% (0.2), respectively.
Humidity in the chamber was not controlled. The birds evaporative water loss was
measured gravimetrically, that is, by weighing the silica gel. Core body temperature was
measured by inserting a copper-constantan thermocouple, tipped with a thin layer of
silicone, into the cloaca of the bird to a depth of 20 cm. This measurement was taken
immediately before the subject was placed in the metabolic chamber and immediately after it
was removed from the chamber. Six surface temperature measurements were taken: feather,
leg, body skin, head skin, frontal caruncle and dewlap. Surface temperatures were measured
with a bare-tipped thermocouple held against the appropriate spot while the subject was still
in its holding box before the trial and again while it was still in the metabolic chamber at the
end of a trial. Skin and feather surface temperature were measured approximately 3 cm
ventral to the carpal joint of the wing. Leg temperature was measured immediately posterior
to the third scale below the tarsal joint on the left or right leg, depending on which was
accessible. Head skin temperature was measured on the back of the head at a point in line
with the lower mandible. Surface temperature of the frontal caruncles and dewlap were
measured at their approximate centers.


64
implications of stretched snood lengths is necessary. Snood distension is muscular (Lucas
& Stettenheim 1972), therefore the difference in stretched snood length between displayers
and nondisplayers may possibly be attributable to the greater exercise given the snood by
the "displayer" males. Additional evidence to support this hypothesis comes from the
previous chapter (Chapter 3) where average display rate (a measure of how often the snood
is distended) was found to be strongly correlated with stretched snood length but only
weakly correlated with relaxed snood length. For this reason it is unclear whether
displaying males can be assumed to be dominant over nondisplayers based on
ornamentation differences. This cautionary note serves as a reminder that behavior can
influence morphology just as the reverse is true.
Snood length was strongly correlated with body mass, a factor thought to be very
important to resource holding capacity and the outcome of dyadic encounters in many
species (Parker 1974; Richner 1989; Beaugrand et al. 1991). In this study males differed
by several kilograms in weight in some cases, and yet this variable, when measured alone,
did not have a significant effect on the outcome of fighting. Snood length, on the other
hand, was greater in dominant males when raw measurements were used and nearly so when
factor scores were used. This suggests that snood length indicates more than just body
mass to potential competitors. Results presented earlier (Chapter 3) confirm that snoods are
good indicators of a number of measures of male condition, including parasite burden,
energy reserves and possibly age. My results suggest that males use snood length as a
general measure of the risks associated with fighting over food or status and that females
use this male character to assess male condition and fighting success.
Similar results were obtained in comprehensive studies of sexual selection in red
junglefowl, Gallus gallus: (Lign et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; 1992). Comb length
in this species is maintained by female choice. Females choose males based on comb
length because this character indicates male parasite burden and fighting success. Thus the
comb of junglefowl and the snood of wild turkeys fit Borgia's (1979) War Propaganda


46
Data from hunter-killed animals showed that relaxed (Mann-Whitney U test, U=0,
U!=16, ni=4, ri2=4, P=0.03) or stretched (Mann-Whimey U test, U=0, U1=12, ni=4, n2=4,
P=0.03) snood length could be used to distinguish between first year and older males.
Over the three year classes measured, relaxed snood length increased significantly (rho=
0.79, n=8, P= 0.04) but stretched length only showed a nonsignificant trend (rho= 0.71,
n=8, P= 0.09) with age. These correlations became nonsignificant when the effects of body
condition were removed by partial regression. However relaxed snood length remained
strongly correlated with male condition if the effects of age are removed (rho=0.56, n=13,
P=0.05).
Discussion
The results provide support for a parasite-driven explanation for the maintenance of
female choice for male ornamentation in wild turkeys (Hamilton & Zuk 1982). They do not
support the arbitrary preference model. Females preferred to mate with males that had
longer snoods and broader skullcaps; two tightly covarying male traits. Although skullcaps
were not measured on wild individuals, stretched and relaxed snood length were longest in
individuals with lower and less chronic burdens of coccidian oocysts. Surveys in the wild
have shown this parasite to be quite widespread; 46-100% of turkey poults are infected and
40% of droppings collected from adults contain oocysts (reviewed by Davidson &
Wentworth 1992). Perhaps because this parasite is often ignored during searches for
internal parasites (Ruff et al. 1988), coccidiosis is not commonly suspected to contribute to
the mortality of adult wild turkeys. However laboratory transmission of Eimeria from wild
individuals to domestic poults proves these parasites have the potential to be highly
pathogenic (Prestwood et al. 1973). Chronic effects of coccidiosis in domestic poultry
include delayed maturation due to decreased plasma testosterone levels (Ruff 1988),
decreased egg and sperm production and lower fertility (Bressler et al. 1951; Ruff et al.
1984; Ogbuokiri & Edgar 1986; Ruff & Wilkins 1987). If similar effects occur in wild


4
of an uninsulated head and neck at low temperatures is assessed by experimentally
reinsulating the heads and necks of wild turkeys as though they were feathered (Chapter 5).
Ornamental structures and elaborate courtship behavior patterns in animals have
long puzzled evolutionary biologists. Recent work on these characters, which are often
quite bizarre in appearance, suggests that these evolutionary puzzles are not always
attributable to sexual selection. Natural selection can mold the specific characteristics of
sexually selected characters to minimize their costs, and it can select for structures that share
characteristics with sexually selected traits, but that have very practical functions outside of
mate choice and male-male competition. The goal of this study is to understand the
evolution and maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in galliform birds.


19
Table 2-2. Occurrence of FS in galliforms relative to predictions of hypotheses for
the evolution of these structures.
Hypotheses and
Predictions
Species Level
X2 (N)
Genus Level
X2 (N)
Tribe Level
U' (N)
Immediate Benefits
FS more common in
monogamy
3.3+ (204)
0.0 (43)
-2.3* (8)
Parasite Resistance
FS more common in
taxa with high
prevalence
0.3 (52)
3.1+ (20)
-0.9 (8)
Plumaee Brightness
FS more common in
brightly colored taxa
2.4 (204)
3.2+ (43)
0.0 (8)
FS more common in
taxa with elaborate
tails
2.0 (204)
, 0.0 (43)
-2.3* (8)
FS more common in
taxa with elaborate
crests
0.0 (202)
2.3 (42)
-0.3 (8)
Dominance
Interactions
FS more common in
polygyny
3.3a+ (204)
0.0 (43)
-2.3a (8)
FS more common in
spurred taxa
2.8a+ (204)
0.1 (48)
-1.2 (8)
FS more common in
taxa sexually
dimorphic for spurs
5.6a (204)
0.3 (43)
-0.3 (8)
Heat-Sink
FS more common in
taxa with lower
minimum latitudal
limits
4.7* (196)
6.4* (48)
-2.3* (8)
Solar Collector
2.1 (196)
6.8** (48)
-1.7+ (9)
FS more common in
taxa with higher
maximum latitudal
limits
+ 0.09>P>0.05; 0.05>P>0.01; ** 0.01>P>0.001; a significant, but in opposite
direction; nearly significant, but in opposite direction. Probabilities are for two-tailed tests.


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Behav., 41,417-424.
Bennett, A. F., Huey, R. B John-Alder, H. & Nagy, K. A. 1984. The parasol tail and
thermoregulatory behavior of the Cape Ground Squirrel, Xerus inauris. Physiol. Zool., 57,
57-62.
Bennett, G. F. & Herman, C. M. 1976. Blood parasites of some birds from Kenya,
Tanzania and Zaire. J. Wildl. Dis., 12, 59-65.
85


65
model for the evolution of extravagant ornamentation because females are choosing males
based on characters that indicate male fighting success.
In contrast studies of sexual behavior and fleshy ornamentation in grouse suggest a
different scenario than that in phasianids. Comb size is a good indicator of male status in
ptarmigans (Gjesdal 1977; Moss et al. 1979; Stokkan 1979) and affects how males interact
(Holder & Montgomerie 1993), but this character is not under direct selection by females.
Instead female ptarmigan preferentially mate with males whose combs show less damage
from fighting. In larger grouse comb characteristics appear to be unimportant to female
mate choice (Alatalo et al. 1991). Why do females assess male fleshy ornamentation
differently in phasianids and grouse? One reason may be that phasianids have permanently
exposed fleshy ornaments, while grouse can hide their combs beneath feathers. The
facultative nature of comb exposure makes it more difficult for females to assess the size of
the comb. As a consequence females are selected to base their mate choice on a more easily
and quickly assessed characteristic (Sullivan 1994), such as scarring and damage from
fighting (Brodsky 1988). This interpretation is at best speculative but warrants further
investigation.
In conclusion it appears that female and male wild turkeys can use male fleshy
ornamentation to assess male condition and dominance status. Male characteristics that are
important in other species, such as body mass or age, were not valid predictors of the
outcome of male-male agonistic interactions in this study or were not included as a variable.
Fleshy ornamentation appears to be an indicator of male status because it is probably
dependent on a condition- and dominance-dependent hormone, testosterone. Both males
and females seem to take advantage of the information provided by snood length to increase
their fitness.


74
Table 5-2. Mean values of dependent thermal variables in eight wild turkeys exposed to
three ambient temperatures (C) with their bare heads and necks uinsulated or insulated.
Values presented for temperature measurements are mean changes in temperature (end of
trial value minus beginning of trial value).
Dependent Variables
Oxygen Consumption
Cooling Capacity
Thermal Conductance (Total)
Thermal Conductance (Dry)
Core Body Temperature
Leg Temperature
Skin Temperature
Feather Temperature
Head Skin Temperature
Frontal Caruncle
Temperature
Dewlap Temperature
Means
(SE)
UNINSULATED HEADS
0 22 35
0.45c
0.41
0.43a
(0.02)
(0.01)
(0.02)
24.68
76.83
119.69a
(3.31)
(5.47)
(7.33)
0.11
0.24
0.78a
(0.01)
(0.01)
(0.03)
0.09
0.06
-0.15a
(0.10)
(0.02)
(0.05)
-0.44
-0.44
0.36a
(0.17)
(0.12)
(0.13)
-16.96
0.00
2.54
(1.53)
(0.62)
(0.48)
-2.39
-1.21
2.61
(1.80)
(1.86)
(1.34)
-8.99
1.15
5.45
(1.67)
(0.39)
(0.73)
-3.03k
-0.16
2.30
(1.37)
(0.45)
(0.73)
-1.98
-0.71
1.46
(1.05)
(0.70)
(0.63)
-0.20
-1.94a
2.89
(0.77)
(1.06)
(0.78)
Means
(SE)
INSULATED HEADS
0
22
35
0.48C
0.40
0.50a
(0-24)
(0.01)
(0.02)
29.51
84.90
96.73a
(3.27)
(3.33)
(4.32)
0.12
0.23
0.92a
(0.01)
(0.01)
(0.06)
0.09
0.04
0.44a
(0.12)
(0.01)
(0.05)
-0.35
-0.45
1.49a
(0.15)
(0.11)
(0.37)
-19.15
-0.11
3.31
(3.10)
(0.69)
(0.64)
-2.71
-0.16
2.48
(2.43)
(1.21)
(0.68)
-11.01
0.73
3.86
(1.49)
(0.63)
(1.54)
0.7 lb
1.11
2.96
(0.33)
(0.43)
(0.42)
-5.48
1.59
3.94
(4.56)
(0.80)
(0.82)
-0.87
2.53a
2.70
(0.56)
(0.52)
(1.18)
Statistically significant differences between values of uninsulated and insulated birds at the
same temperature have the following probabilities: a <0.01; b <0.05; 0.09> c >0.05.


71
conflicts in the laboratory, every turkey was tested at 0 C before it was exposed to the other
temperatures. The presentation order of the trials at 22 and 35 C was randomized.
Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to test the effects of body size (mean = 6.7 vs. 7.5
kg for small and large, respectively), chamber temperature and head insulation on oxygen
consumption (cm3 02/g*hr), cooling capacity, total and dry thermal conductances (mW/cm2
C) and changes in body and surface temperatures (C). The effect of each 30 min
sampling period was also included when oxygen consumption was the dependent variable.
Treatment groups exhibited similar variances (Fmay tests, all p>0.05; Sokal & Rohlf 1981).
Reported p values have been adjusted using Greenhouse-Geisser epsilon values. This
technique conservatively compensates for the use of repeated measures by adjusting the
degrees of freedom (Abacus Concepts Inc. 1989).
Results
The mass specific rate of oxygen consumption was significantly lower for large
individuals across all temperatures (mean= 0.4140 0.007 vs. 0.4730 0.013 cm3 02/g*hr;
Table 5-1). Rate of metabolism was not significantly different for uninsulated and insulated
turkeys at 0 and 22 C. However at 35 C insulated turkeys exhibited a significantly higher
average metabolic rate than uninsulated turkeys (Table 5-2, Figure 5-1). A significant,
three-way interaction between head insulation, temperature and time period suggests that the
effects of head insulation became more pronounced the longer the subject was exposed to
the chamber conditions at hot temperatures.
When the cooling capacities of uninsulated and insulated turkeys were compared,
uninsulated turkeys demonstrate a significantly greater ability than insulated turkeys to
dissipate excess metabolic heat by evaporation at 35 C, but not at cooler temperatures
(Figure 5-2). Total thermal conductance increased with temperature. It was also greater for
insulated birds overall (Table 5-1, Figure 5-3) but this difference was significant only at the


CHAPTER 3
ADAPTIVE FEMALE CHOICE FOR
MALE FLESHY STRUCTURES IN WILD TURKEYS
Introduction
The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a familiar example of a sexually dimorphic
species exhibiting an array of extravagant behavioral and morphological characters that
serve no obvious useful function other than to attract mates. Males weigh more than twice
as much as females and have iridescent feathers, a large fan-like tail, a long hair-like beard
projecting from their chest, tarsal spurs and an unfeathered head and neck. The unfeathered
neck is covered with pebble-like red bumps called side caruncles, that may fuse to form
horizontal bands of bumpy skin (Figure 3-1). At the base of the front of the neck are three
or four roughly elliptical pillow-like outgrowths called frontal caruncles. The skullcap on
the crown of the head has thickened skin that ranges in color from red to white and light
blue and appears to change depending on the motivational state of the animal. Perhaps most
striking is a distensible process at the base of the upper bill called the snood. Finally a thin
dewlap stretches from beneath the lower mandible down to the frontal caruncles. This
extravagantly ornamented bird is uniquely suited to testing models of female choice because
it is a highly polygynous species and males associate with females only for mating and
never provide care for their offspring.
Although we cannot be sure by which selective process any one of the turkey's
many ornaments has evolved during the history of this species, the evolutionary history of a
character can be inferred by examining the selective pressures maintaining such characters
in the present By testing the mating preferences of captive female wild turkeys and
25


CHAPTER 6
GENERAL DISCUSSION
The unfeathered, ornamented head of male wild turkeys has dual adaptive functions:
it indirectly increases mating success and directly increases heat dissipation at high
temperatures. The FS of wild turkeys increases mating success in two ways. Male snood
length, is strongly correlated with both female choice and male dominance. A negative
correlation between snood length and number of coccidia oocysts found in the feces
suggests that females use male snood length to detect which males are resistant to this
debilitating parasite. Females that mate with parasite-resistant males may have increased
fitness if the male's parasite resistance is heritable, because her offspring will be better able
to withstand the deleterious effects of parasitism. Longer snooded males were dominant
over shorter snooded ones and all males avoided interaction with longer snooded artificial
males. Males may avoid fighting with longer snooded males because of the risks of
combatting males that are likely to be in better overall condition.
In addition to these sexually selected functions for some aspects of the unfeathered
head of wild turkeys, FS are used in thermoregulation. Turkeys whose head and
ornamentation had been insulated as though covered with feathers were unable to dissipate
heat at high temperatures. Although the thermoregulatory function of the uninsulated head
was not experimentally attributed to any one part of the male's head ornamentation in this
study, the distention of snoods by males at high temperatures suggest that this character
may be used to dissipate heat.
The mystery of FS maintenance and evolution in wild turkeys and other galliforms
was not fully explained by the study of sexual selection and thermoregulation described
above. The head ornamentation of wild turkeys has several components, only one of which,
82


69
Different rates of physical activity across subjects and trials can make it difficult to
detect the effect of experimental treatments on metabolic rate. Therefore I minimized the
bird's activity by conducting trials at night in the dark. Metabolic trials lasting 2.5 hours
were conducted between 20:00-03:00 hours. All subjects were given at least one day
between trials. Individual turkeys were tested at the same time of day (either 20:00 or 0:00
hours) across all treatments to minimize circadian effects on matched comparisons of
metabolic rate. The first 30 min of each trial served as an equilibration period during which
the bird calmed down after handling. The least observed rate of oxygen consumption
(corrected to standard pressure and temperature) measured during each of the four
subsequent 30 min periods was used to calculate an average metabolic rate for the entire
trial. All individuals were given two 2.5 hr habituation trials prior to the experimental trials.
Usually the subjects rested quietly during the experimental trials. Behaviorial states were
recorded by instaneous sampling (Martin & Bateson 1986) every 30 min. Three states
were noted as present or absent: standing, head tucked under feathers, panting.
Observations were made with the aid of a flashlight through a small window in the chamber.
Experimental Design
To determine the potential thermoregulatory impact that head feathering would have
on wild turkeys, their thermal balance was ascertained when their heads were "bare" (see
below) and when they were insulated as though they were feathered. To approximate the
insulatory properties of head and neck feathering, the bare head and neck of the turkey
were covered with a double layer (0.6 cm on head, 0.9 cm on neck) of acrylic sock (Adler
"Casual Acrylic Crew," 75% Hi-Bulk Acrylic/25% Stretch Nylon) with large holes for the
eyes and the entire bill. Any irritational effects of the insulatory head covering on metabolic
rate were controlled by placing a hood made of thin, nylon netting with little insulatory value
on the heads of the "bare" individuals. The control head net and insulatory head socking
were held in place with small alligator clips that attached to the back and chest feathers at the


57
they did not feed immediately when food was returned after the trial. In any case bird seed
was a preferred treat that the turkeys would eat preferentially even when their regular food
was available ad libitum. During each model trial a single male was admitted through a door
in one side of the arena. The latency of the males to feed from one of the seed piles was
recorded. Males that did not choose a seed pile within 30 min were removed and were not
retested.
Results
Live Male Trials
Fighting occurred in 8 of the 14 trials. Fights lasted on average only 46.1 sec. Out
of the 6 trials in which no fighting occurred, there were three cases in which the subordinate
male fled from the other male immediately. In one case the males did not fight nor flee, nor
did they ever directly contact one another. The duration of fighting showed a trend toward
being negatively correlated with differences in beard length between the two males (rs=
-0.51, p=0.07). During fighting only 2 of the 28 males tested, distended their snoods
slightly (just past the bill opening). In both cases these males were later classified as
dominant to the individual with which they were paired.
Seven of the ten male characteristics measured directly were found to be strongly
correlated (r2 >0.4) with one another (Table 4-1). These were spur length, relaxed snood
length, side caruncle number, skullcap width, frontal caruncle area, frontal caruncle depth
and body mass. A factor analysis utilizing varimax transformation produced four factors
from these variables (Table 4-2). Snood length and mass loaded on the first factor, spur
length, frontal caruncle area and caruncle depth loaded on the second factor, skullcap width
loaded on the third factor and side caruncle number loaded on the fourth factor. The factor
scores of these variables are analyzed below in addition to the raw measurements in an
attempt to identify underlying axes of variation in these characters.


53
itself, but because of strongly correlated attributes such as body weight Therefore I also
examine the response of captive males to the presentation of artificial males that differ only
in snood length and caruncle number.
Methods
A detailed description of the rearing of the wild turkeys used in these experiments,
including cage sizes is provided in the previous chapter (Chapter 3). Briefly, the wild
turkeys were obtained from a game farm as day-old chicks. At four months of age the
females were separated from the males and the males were divided into two, visually isolated
groups. Pilot observations during the spring 1992 breeding season showed that very few of
the males actively strutted when group housed. Therefore when the males were 15 months
old, six months before the 1994 season, the males were moved to individual pens separated
by opaque dividers. This had the effect of stimulating more males to perform the strut
display. Eleven of the 28 males displayed spontaneously and regularly in their individual
pens. These animals were designated "displayers" and were used in the mate choice trials
(described in Chapter 3) before being tested in the dominance trials. For the dominance
trials, conducted in Feb-April 1993, a male from one rearing flock was matched with a male
from the other flock. These males were chosen from their respective flocks at random
except that "displayers" were always matched with other displayers. An additional male
who displayed occassionally was used in the dyad with the odd numbered "displayer". The
pairing of males based on display frequency mimics the situation in the wild where
displayers usually fight one another and are avoided by nondisplaying individuals and
juveniles (personal observation). Each dyad of males was measured for ornamentation and
body size, as described previously (Chapter 3), on the day before the dominance trial.


CHAPTER 4
MALE DOMINANCE AND VARIATION IN
FLESHY HEAD ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS
Introduction
The mating system of wild turkeys has been classified as male-dominance polygyny
(Williams & Austin 1988). In the breeding season males vocalize ("gobble") to attract
flocks of receptive females and then follow and display to those hens throughout the day.
During this time other males may be attracted to the same females and battles between males
over mating access often result (Watts & Stokes 1971). Because males are unable to obtain
exclusive access to females by defending food or other resources that female turkeys need
(Emlen & Oring 1977; Hurst 1992), they control access to the females themselves. As a
result male wild turkeys engage in frequent, direct, agonistic interactions that determine
mating success (Watts & Stokes 1971). These agonistic interactions begin when the males
are juveniles and establish dominance heirarchies within their age cohort (Healy 1992a) and
continue as males encounter and fight with other males after dispersal from the natal
territory and in subsequent breeding seasons (Watts & Stokes 1971; Williams & Austin
1988; Healy 1992a).
The War Propaganda model (Fisher 1958; Borgia 1979) proposes that in mating
systems such as the wild turkey's, in which females gain no direct benefits from males and
males compete for access to females, male fighting success should be assessed by females
during mate choice. Females should do this because fighting ability is probably a good
measure of overall male condition. Another reason to mate with dominant males is that the
components of dominance may be heritable (Dewsbury 1990); therefore, a female that
mates with a dominant male may have higher fitness because of an increased likelihood that
51


73
Table 5-1. Partial results of repeated measures ANOVAs showing statistically significant
sources of variation in, and those with strong trends of influence on, the dependent
measures of thermal balance listed.
Dependent Variable
Source of Variance
df
F value
Probability
Oxygen
Size
1
5.96
0.050
Consumption
Insulation *Temp
2
4.16
0.053
Insul*Temp*Time
4
4.15
0.043
Cooling Capacity
Temperature
2
135.00
0.0001
Insulation*Temp
2
8.87
0.014
Thermal
Insulation
I
7.19
0.037
Conductance (Total)
Temperature
2
367.00
0.0001
Thermal
Insulation*Temp
2
8.03
0.028
Conductance (Dry)
Insulation
1
5.30
0.061
Temperature
2
9.45
0.016
Insulation*Temp
2
7.96
0.027
Core Body
Insulation
1
6.62
0.042
Temperature
Temperature
2
22.10
0.002
Insulation*Temp
2
10.39
0.011
Leg Temperature
Temperature
2
150.00
0.0001
Skin Temperature
Temperature
2
3.70
0.086
Feather Temperature
Insulation
1
4.43
0.083
Temperature
2
42.01
0.001
Head Skin
Insulation
1
12.09
0.013
Temperature
Temperature
2
16.28
0.001
Frontal Caruncle
Temperature
Temperature
2
6.39
0.013
Dewlap Temperature
Temperature
2
6.83
0.014
Insul*Temperature
2
7.79
0.009


Table 2-3. Elaboration of fleshy structure size, sexual dimorphism or change in size during display
relative to predicted correlates.
Hypotheses and Predictions
species
rho
N
X2
genus
rho
N
X2
tribe
rho or z
N
Immediate Benefits
FS larger in monogamous taxa
-0.14
119
0.86
-0.24
40
1.60
-0.75+
7
SDFS less in monogamous taxa
0.43
108
21.80***
0.57***
38
8.50**
0.96*
7
Parasite Resistance
FS larger in susceptible taxa
-0.09
34
0.00
-0.07
21
0.40
0.04
7
Plumaee Brightness
FS size larger in brighter species
0.02
119
0.42
-0.05
40
0.00
0.00
7
SDFS greater in sexually
dichromatic taxa
0 70***
106
38.6***
0.60***
38
8.5**
0.93*
7
FS size larger in crested species

-
2.22


0.40
0.00
8
FS size larger in species with
ornamented tails

-
0.30


0.60
-2.31
8


38
was able to ensure that the amplitude of the struts were equal (73 db) at a point 0.75 m
immediately in front of each male.
The male models were identical in coloration, tail size, beard length and display
frequency. To test whether the most variable types of fleshy head ornamentation seen in
live males affect mate choice, it was necessary to construct artificial snoods and caruncles
for the artificial males. Four snoods (two 4.0 cm long, two 6.6 cm long), 14 side caruncles
(1.2 cm x 1.9 cm x 1 cm) and four frontal caruncles (2 cm in diameter) were constructed
from latex caulking. The snoods were painted as above so that they were bluish pink, the
caruncles of both types were painted red. These were applied with small pieces of double
sided tape so that one male model was "more ornamented", i.e. given a long snood coupled
with 5 caruncles on each side of his neck, while the "less ornamented" male was given the
shorter snood and only two caruncles on each side of his neck. Both males had two frontal
caruncles placed side by side at the base of the front of their necks. Only snood length and
side caruncle number were varied because these characters were the most variable in wild-
caught males. One or more of the bodies, tails, beards, snoods or caruncles were exchanged
between the models after each trial and the position of the more ornamented male was
randomized. Thus female preference could be attributed to the only consistent difference
between the males: snood length and side caruncle number.
Females. Twenty-three 17-month old female wild turkeys were implanted with a 21
day-release pellet of 25 mg of estradiol (Innovative Research of America, Toledo, OH,
USA) on 3 Dec. 1992. After 10 days, when most females were exhibiting sexual behavior,
mate choice trials were conducted.
Experimental design. Male model trials were conducted between 08:00-16:00 h
from 13 Dec-15 Dec 1992. The playback of the strut recording was started before each
female was admitted singly to the arena via a remotely opened door. Starting the moment
the female stepped into the middle of the arena from the waiting area, I recorded the amount


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope ancj-gnality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
llis C. Griner
Professor of Veterinary Medicine
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Zoology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was
accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Dean, Graduate School
August, 1994


"That's the whole problem with science.
You've got a bunch of empiricists
trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder."
Calvin


55
Uve.
Malel
>> Uve
Male 2
Model 1
Model 2
5
-if
¡
Is
Live
Male
Figure 4-1. Male dominance trial arenas. A) Randomly matched males
are admitted to a central arena from holding pens; B) A living male is
given the choice of feeding from in front of two artificial males of
different snood lengths and side caruncle numbers. Another male waits in
a holding area.


collecting solar radiation. Therefore there should be no relationship between FS size
change and latitude or altitude.
Methods
Despite the extreme variation in shape and usage of FS, they share certain attributes and
can be divided into three broad categories: (1) sparsely feathered thin skin without
distinctive coloring (e.g., the lores of hawks); (2) thickened bare skin with or without
distinctive coloring (e.g., the orbital ring in some parrots); and (3) projections of thickened,
brightly colored skin (e.g., a chicken's comb). Lumping these three types of structures
under a single heading may be somewhat unnatural, since bird species may have very
different reasons for exposing their skin. However, so little is known about the
morphology, associations and functions of these variable structures that I think this
phenomenon warrants an initial investigation at a broader level. Therefore, to identify
patterns in the function of exposed skin, I initially lump these structures.
Using literature accounts I collected information on the presence, size, sexual
dimorphism and size change during display of FS, and on the upper, lower, and mid
altitudinal and latitudinal limits, body size and sexual dimorphism, mating system, presence
of spurs, blood parasite prevalence, and plumage showiness (or "brightness," sensu
Hamilton & Zuk 1982) and sexual dichromatism of 279 species of Galliformes in three
families (Cracidae, Megapodiidae, Phasianidae). Fleshy structures and plumage
characteristics were determined from plates and photos in monographs (Delacour &
Amadon 1973; Johnsgard 1983; 1986; 1988), a variety of field guides, individual accounts
and personal observations. The FS size of resting males was ranked on a scale of 0-5
relative to head size. The ranking of FS size relative to head size in all species prevents any
bias in the results where the FS in question may have been used to establish the underlying
taxonomy. Sexual dimorphism in FS size was ranked on a scale of 0-2. Fleshy structure
size change during display was ranked on a scale of 0-5. Plumage brightness was ranked


generously allowed me to use their facilities to house the turkeys. My dad, Eduard
Buchholz helped improve the turkey cages. Margaret Byrne and Gerry Ryan helped build
new cages.
My studies of free-living wild turkeys were done under permit from the Florida
Department of Natural Resources and Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission.
Permits were facilitated by Dan Pearson and David Cobb. I thank them and the staffs at
Paynes Prairie State Preserve and Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, particularly
Jim Weimer and Jack Gillen. The National Wild Turkey Federation provided wild turkey
transport boxes free of charge.
Several pilot studies did not pan out in the long run. Nevertheless I would like to
thank those who assisted me in these preliminary efforts. John Eisenberg kindly provided
permission to conduct preliminary research at the Katharine Ordway Preserve. Peter and
Denise Buchholz figured out how to catch jungle fowl on Kauai. Steve Nesbitt taught me
all about sandhill cranes, shared his data and let me tag along on crane capturing trips.
Marilyn Spaulding, Don Forrester and Sam Telford helped with my earliest attempts at
parasitology. I hope they will continue to encourage students as they did me.
At times graduate school is a very frustrating and unrewarding place. I must thank
the family and friends who have supported, laughed and commiserated with me over the
years and made it better. All have been instrumental in keeping me (somewhat) sane and
(usually) happy. Nothing would have been possible without the love and generosity of my
parents, Eduard and Elisabeth Buchholz. I hope someday they understand why I had to do
this. Gratitude goes to their son Peter, who reaffirmed our brotherhood despite having
chosen a different path. Thanks go to Marianne von Osten and Susan Edelbach, my "aunt"
and "sister," for always welcoming me home. Special thanks go to fellow cohort member,
peer advisor and buddy Laurie Eberhardt. I will miss her (boo!) and Peter. Carlita
Restrepo is a kindred spirit. I thank the expatriates, Tes Toop and John Donald, for being
funny, stabilizing and never dull. They tell me that in Australia Occam's razor is used to cut
IV


88
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avian haematozoa of North America. Can. J. Zool, 53,1762-1787.
Griffen Productions 1990. America's Wild Turkey. Video. Rhinebeck, NY,
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the bill. J. Therm. Biol., 5,95-101.
Hamilton, W. D. & Zuk, M. 1982. Heritable true fitness and bright birds: a role for
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Harvey, P. H. & Pagel, M. D. 1991. The Comparative Method in Evolutionary Biology.
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Hatch, D. E. 1970. Energy conserving and heat dissipation mechanisms of the Turkey
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Healy, W. M. 1992a. Behavior. In: The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management (Ed. by J
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1987. The evolution of mating preferences and sexually selected traits. In: Sexual
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J Wiley & Sons.
Henneman, W. I. 1988. Energetics and spread-winged behavior in Anhingas and Double-
Crested Comorants: risks of generalization. Amer. Zool., 28, 845-851.
Hill, G. E. 1994. Geographic variation in male ornamentation and female mate preference
in the house finch: a comparative test of models of sexual selection. Behav. Ecol., 5,64-73.
Hill, R., Beaver, D. & Veghte, J. 1980. Body surface temperatures and thermoregulation in
Black-capped Chickadees (Parus atricapillus'). Physiol. Zool., 53,305-321.
Hillgarth, N. 1990. Parasites and female choice in the Ring-necked Pheasant. Amer. Zool.,
30,227-233.
Holder, K. & Montgomerie, R. 1993. Context and consequences of comb displays by
male rock ptarmigan. Anim. Behav., 45,457-470.
Hollett, K Thomas, V. & MacDonald, S. 1984. Structural and functional aspects of
supraorbital combs of grouse. International Grouse Symposium, York, 3, 193-211.
Hon, L. T., Forrester, D. J. & Williams, L. E. Jr 1975. Helminths of wild turkeys in
Florida. Proc. Helminthol. Soc.Wash., 42,119-127.
Hon, L. T Forrester, D. J. & Williams, L. E. Jr 1978. Helminth acquisition by wild
turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo osceola) in Florida. Proc. Helminthol. Soc.Wash., 45,211-
218.


17
between variables when they exist. Therefore, I adopt a more exploratory approach and
present the associations found between variables at all three taxonomic levels considered:
species, genus and tribe. Correlational relationships found only at all lower taxonomic
levels (e.g., across species) may be artifacts of shared phylogeny rather than the products of
unique evolutionary events. Correlations at higher levels may not be significant because of
small sample size. However those correlations that retain statistical significance across all
taxonomic levels probably represent strong adaptive relationships.
The hypotheses presented for the evolution of FS were tested statistically in three ways.
First I compared taxa with FS to those lacking these structures. The occurrence of FS was
tested in a contingency table constructed from the number of taxa above and below the
median of the pertinent independent variable and the presence or absence of FS. Second the
factors associated with the elaboration of FS in species that had them were also tested in a
contingency table. Fleshy structure size and the independent variables were divided into two
groups at the median. Third the strength of association between three FS characteristics
(FS size, dimorphism and display change) and the independent variables were tested with
non-parametric correlation analysis (Spearman rank correlation). Sample sizes vary with
the availability of data for each variable. The data set lacked complete information for most
of the megapodes, and therefore these species are poorly represented by the results.
At the species level, FS size was strongly correlated with body mass. To remove
correlations between variables caused by their shared correlation with mass, residual values
generated by regressing each variable with body mass were used in all the analyses. This
approach assumes that the effect of natural or sexual selection on FS characteristics is direct
and not mediated by body size. It was not possible to test predictions relating to sexual size
dimorphism because this variable is calculated from a ratio with male mass as the
denominator. In the contingeny analyses of the occurrence of FS this resulted in about half
of the FS with a rank of one being included in the "FS absent" row. Finally, latitude and
altitude were positively correlated with one another and showed similar associations in most


6
Table 2-1. Fleshy structures are found in 47 families in 11 orders in the Class Aves.
Struthioniformes
Struthionidae*
A Rheiformes
Rheidae
Casuariitformes
Casuariidae*
Dromaiidae*
A Apterygiformes
Apterygidae
A Tinamiformes
Tinamidae
A Sphenisciformes
Spheniscidae
A Gaviiformes
Gaviidae
A Podicipediformes
Podicipedidae
A Procellairiiformes
Diomedidae
Procellaridae
Hydrobatidae
Pelecanoididae
Pelecanif armes
Pbaethontidae
Pelecanidae*
Sulidae
Phalacrocoiracidae*
Anbingidae
Fregatidae*
Ciconiiformes
Ardeidae
Balaenicipitidae
Scopidae
Ciconiidae*
Threskiomithidae*
Phoenicopteridae*
Anseriformes
Anhimidae
Anatidae*
Falco niff rimes
Cathartidae*
Pandionidae
Accipitridae*
Sagittaridae*
Falconidae
Galliformes
Megapodiidae*
Craddae*
Phasianidae*
Opisthocomidae*
Gruiformes
Mesitornithidae
Tumiddae
Pedionomidae
Gruidae*
Aramidae
Psophiidae
Rallidae
Heliomithidae
Rhynocetdae
Eurypygidae
Cariamidae*
Otididae*
Charadriiformes
Jacanidae*
Rostratulidac
Dromadidae
Haematopodidae
Ibidorhychidae
Recurvirorostidae
Burhinidae
Glareolidae
Charadriidae
Scolopaddae*
Thinocoridae
Chionididae*
Stercorariidae
Laridae
Rynchopidae
Alcidae*
Columbiformes
Pteroclididae
Columbidae*
Psittaciformes
Psittaddae*
Loriidae*
Cacatuidae*
Cuculiformes
Musophagidae*
Cuculidae*
A Strigiformes
Tytonidae
Strigidae
A Caprimulgiformes
Steatomithidae
Podargidae
Nyctibiidae
Aegothelidae
Caprimulgidae
A Apodiformes
Apodidae
Hemiprocnidae
Trochilidae
Coliiformes
Coliidae*
A Trogoniformes
Trogonidae
Coraciiformes
Alcedinidae
Todidac
Momotidae
Meropidae
Coraciidae
Brachypteraciidae
Leptosomatidae
Upupidae
Phoeniculidae
Bucerotidae*
Piciformes
Galbulidae
Bucconidae
Capitonidae*
Indicatoridae
Ramphastidae*
Picidae*
Passeriformes
Eurylaimidae
Dendrocolaptdae
Fumariidae
Fonnicariidae*
Conopophagidae
Rhinocryptidae
Cotngidae*
Pipridae
Tyrannidae
Cbcynmcidae
Phytotomidae*
Pittidae
Xenicidae
Philepittidae*
Menuridae
Atrichomithidae
Alaudidae
Hirundinidae
Motarillidae
Campephagidae
Pycnonotidae
Irenidae
Laniidae
Vangidae
Bombycillidae
Dulidae
Cinclidae
Troglodytidae
Mimidae
Prunellidae
Muscicapidae*
Aegathalidae
Remizidae
Pandas
Sittidae
Certiidae
Rhabdomitbae
Climacteridae
Dicaeidae
Nectariniidae
Zosteropidae*
Melaphagidae*
Emberizidae
Parulidae
Drepanididae
Virenidas
Icteridae*
Fringillidae
Estrildidae
Ploceidae
Stumidae*
Oriolidae*
Dicruridae
Callaeidae
Grallinidae
Aratamidae
Cractridae
Ptilonorhynchidae
Paradisaeidae
Corvidae
Classification follows Morony et al. (1975). Field guides were examined to identify taxa with FS.
All species were not examined, thus additional taxa may possess FS. Families without annotation
lack fleshy structures; order contains at least one species with a fleshy structure; A no fleshy
structures present in representative species surveyed in each family of order; family contains at
least one species that possesses a fleshy structure.


62
Male Model Trials
Twenty one of the 28 males tested responded by feeding within the 30 min trial
period. Of the seven males that did not respond, two attacked the decoys (one gave fighting
purrs to the less ornamented model, the other pecked the snood of the more ornamented
model), four did not feed or approach the decoys, and one trial was excluded because a
decoy toppled over. A significant number of the 21 males that responded under the trial
conditions fed in front of the less ornamented decoy (X2= 8.0, v=l, p< 0.01). The four
males who chose to feed from the seed in front of the more ornamented male tended to have
smaller spurs (mean= 2.1 vs. 1.3 cm; U= 22.5, U*= 73.5, p=0.09) and fewer side caruncles
(25.7 vs. 12.8; U=18, U1=78, p=0.05) than the 17 who fed in front of the less ornamented
model. The latency of the males to feed (i.e. the time from the start of the trial until males
began to feed) was not correlated with any of the male characters measured. The males who
did not feed during the trial were not different from the other males in any of the measured
characters (Mann Whitney U-tests, all p> 0.05).
Discussion
In dyadic encounters between wild turkeys the only male character significantly
predictive of the outcome of male-male interaction was relaxed snood length. Dominant
males had longer relaxed snoods than their subordinate partners. Similarly males tended to
avoid feeding on seeds near model males with longer snoods in the male model trials.
These complementary results strongly suggest that males assess one another's snood length
as an indicator of male condition and status. Therefore it is surprising that differences in
snood length do not affect the time until, or duration of, combat If snood length is a good
indicator of status, males with similar snood lengths should need to battle longer to resolve
relative dominance status than pairs of males with very disparate snood lengths. Additional
studies are necessary to understand why males do not adjust their investment in fighting
according to their likelihood of winning.


Table 4-3. Mean and standard errors for morphological and behavioral measurements for dominant and subordinate males.
Variables
Dominant
Subordinant
Probability
tarsus
16.2 (0.4)
16.3 (0.1)
ns
spur length
1.9 (0.1)
2.0 (0.1)
ns
beard length
14.7 (1.9)
13.8 (1.9)
ns
relaxed snood
3.1 (0.2)
2.5 (0.2)
0.02
stretched snood
4.5 (0.2)
4.0 (0.3)
ns
side caruncles
25.4 (3.6)
22.3 (3.1)
ns
front caruncle area
72.6 (6.0)
67.8 (9.3)
ns
front caruncle depth
1.1 (0.1)
1.0 (0.1)
ns
skullcap width
4.7 (0.1)
4.5 (0.2)
ns
mass
8.7 (0.3)
8.3 (0.3)
ns
condition
0.5 (0.0)
0.5 (0.0)
ns
first factor
0.24 (0.27)
-0.24 (0.26)
0.03
second factor
-0.68 (0.20)
0.07 (0.30)
ns
third factor
0.25 (0.22)
-0.25 (0.30)
ns
fourth factor
0.06 (0.30)
-0.06 (0.24)
ns
no. fight pecks
0.4 (0.3)
0.0 (0.0)
ns
no. fight kicks
1.1 (0.7)
0.9 (0.4)
ns
no. pre-fight wing flaps
0.4 (0.4)
0.6 (0.4)
ns
Note: One-tailed probabilities are listed as nonsignificant (ns) if P>0.05. Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks tests were used for the
directly measured variables and unpaired t-tests were used for the factor scores.


11
Ectoparasites may also affect ornamentation and mating success. Spurrier (1991) applied
pigment marks resembling hematomas caused by lice on the cervical air sacs of Sage
Grouse and found that females preferred the unblemished males. Unfortunately the only
measures of parasite prevalence available for most galliform species is of the blood
parasites, therefore I restrict my predictions to this group.
(i) Species with FS should be more susceptible to parasitic infection than non-FS
species (Hamilton & Zuk 1982; Read 1987). The unidirectional nature of this prediction
may seem counter intuitive. However, since female choice for resistant males may result in
higher mean resistance in the next generation, the co-evolutionary nature of host-parasite
interactions insures that over long periods of evolutionary time, the host will continue to be
susceptible to the parasite. This is a result of adaptations by the parasite that counter the
host's new defenses.
(ii) Fleshy structures should be larger, more sexually dimorphic and show greater
change during display in species with higher prevalences of hematozoa.
Plumage brightness. Female preference for brighter or more boldly plumaged males is
well documented in the avian literature (Burley et al. 1982; Zuk et al. 1992; Johnson et al.
1993; Hill 1994). Brighter males may have access to more or better quality food, be less
susceptible to parasites or be more dominant Alternatively females may merely prefer more
brightly colored males with no naturally selected advantage, sensu Fisher (Fisher 1958). In
any case, if females are choosing males based on their ornamentation, an association
between plumage brightness and FS presence and size might be expected.
(i) Species with FS should have brighter plumage than those lacking FS. Also FS size
should be larger in brighter species.
(ii) Species with FS should be more likely to have other types of ornamentation
associated with reproductive displays, such as crests and elaborated tails.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii
ABSTRACT viii
CHAPTERS
1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1
2 A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ADAPTIVE
SIGNIFICANCE OF FLESHY STRUCTURES IN THE
GALLIFORMES 5
Hypotheses and Predictions 7
Inter-individual Assessment 7
Immediate benefits 9
Good genes models 10
Fisher's runaway selection 13
Thermoregulation 13
Fleshy structures as heat sinks 14
Solar collector 14
Methods 15
Results 18
Inter-individual Assessment 18
Immediate benefits 18
Good genes models 18
Thermoregulation 22
Fleshy structures as heat sinks 22
Solar collector 22
Discussion 22
3 ADAPTIVE FEMALE CHOICE FOR MALE FLESHY
ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS 25
Introduction 25
Methods 30
Study Species 30
Mate Choice Experiments 31
Live male experiment 32
Male model experiment 37
Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males 39
Results 40
Live Males Experiment 40
Male Models Experiment 42
vi


3
that females will exert directional selection for the more exaggerated form of male
ornamentation. Good genes models propose that the character in question is assessed by
females because it is an indicator of the heritable vigor of the bearer, but the arbitrary
preference model predicts no such association between ornament and male viability. To
investigate how wild turkey ornamentation may have evolved by female choice, the
assumptions and predictions of these models must be tested. First, do females mate
randomly with respect to male traits, and if not, which traits do they assess in prospective
mates? Second, are the characters assessed by females particularly good indicators of the
male's success in dealing with factors limiting the fitness of wild turkeys? One factor
limiting fitness of males is their ability to displace other males away from females during
the reproductive season.
Wild turkeys are a highly polygynous species in which males attempt to restrict the
access of other males to groups of females during the mating season. Thus agonistic
interactions and social dominance may be important determinants of reproductive success.
Females may prefer to mate with dominant males if components of dominance are heritable
and will be passed on to their offspring. Subordinate males should avoid dangerous battles
with dominant males if they have little chance of winning. Fleshy ornamentation may play a
role in mutual assessment before male battles, because these structures appear to be good
indicators of condition and testosterone levels in related galliform species. To see if this is
the case in wild turkeys, the value of fleshy ornamentation in indicating the outcome of
male-male combat is assessed. Then I ask whether males actually judge the ornamentation
of other males before interacting with them.
Female choice and male-male competition are not the only hypotheses that might
explain the maintenance of fleshy ornamentation in wild turkeys. Fleshy ornamentation is
highly vascularized and may be used in thermal balance, particularly at high temperatures.
The value of unfeathered ornamentation in dissipating heat at high temperatures and the cost


22
Thermoregulation
Fleshy structures as heat sinks.
Reshy structure size was negatively correlated with latitude, and sexual dimorphism in
FS size was positively correlated with latitude; that is, FS got smaller and more sexually
dimorphic at higher latitudes (Tables 2-3). The degree of change in FS size during display
was predicted to be greatest nearest the equator; however, the opposite relationship was
obtained. Display change in FS size increased significantly with latitude.
Solar collector
Species with higher latitudinal limits were not more likely to have FS, nor did they have
smaller and more sexually dimorphic FS (Tables 2-2 and 2-3). In addition there was a
positive correlation between maximum latitude and FS size change during display at the
genus level. As the minimum latitudinal limits of a species increases, females become less
likely to have FS and males become more likely to reveal the full extent of their FS size
only during display.
Discussion
Despite the many intraspecific studies demonstrating the importance of FS to inter
individual assessment, a comparative analysis did not find much support for this hypothesis
as an explanation for the evolution of FS across galliform species. This result must be
interpreted with caution because the expected correlates of inter-individual assessment
processes (e.g., plumage brightness or spur number) are themselves only hypothesized
correlates of female choice and male-male competition based on intraspecific studies. A
true test of this hypothesis would necessitate standardized studies of the mate choice and
competitive behavior of each species. Instead I have assumed that if FS are subject to
assessment, they will co-occur with other characters that have been shown to be subject to
assessment in other species. The veracity of this assumption may depend on what is being
assessed (Sullivan 1994). Additionally it was not possible to include other characters that


10
Good genes models
If differences in general viability (e.g., health, dominance) are due to genotypic
differences, females may be able to choose these "good" genes for their offspring
(Andersson 1986; Heisler et al. 1987). Female choice for good genes may be especially
important in systems where the male provides no care or other resources for the female or
young. In this case traits that honestly advertise male condition will be chosen by females
(Kodric-Brown & Brown 1984). The following hypotheses address specific viability
correlates that females may use to assess males (and that other males may avoid in
combatants).
Parasite resistance. Hamilton and Zuk (1982) proposed that FS in birds are utilized in
the assessment of blood parasite burden in prospective mates. Avian blood parasites may
reduce fecundity (Korpimaki et al. 1993) or survivorship (Atkinson & van Riper 1991;
Bennett et al. 1993). At some stage in their life cycle, hematozoa lyse the blood or muscle
cell they occupy and release merozoites (asexual sister cells that subsequently infect other
blood cells or tissues) or gametocytes (which are picked up by insect vectors during blood
feeding). Red blood cell lysis or muscle impairment may result in anemia that is detectable
in the color or turgidity of highly vascularized FS.
The Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis can be expanded to include other parasites or parasitic
mechanisms that may affect the size or color of FS. For example, intestinal coccidia
infection is associated with reduced blood carotenoid levels (Ruff et al. 1974) and may
affect FS pigmentation. Lign et al. (1990) and Zuk et al. (1990b) found that infection with
the intestinal nematode Ascaridia reduced comb size in male junglefowl and that females
preferred males with larger combs (above a threshold size), and big combed males were
more successful in male-male contests. Hillgarth (1990) found a negative correlation
between coccidia burden and mating success in ringneck pheasants and showed that males
that extended their face wattles fully and for long periods had higher mating success
(although she does not mention a direct correlation between wattle size and parasite burden).


86
Bennett, G. F., Peirce, M. A. & Ashford, R. W. 1993. Avian haematozoa: mortality and
pathogenicity. J. Nat. Hist, 27,993-1001.
Booth, D. T., Clayton, D. H. & Block, B. A. 1993. Experimental demonstration of the
energetic cost of parasitism in free-ranging hosts. Proc. Royal Soc. London. B, 253,125-
129.
Borgia, G. 1979. Sexual selection and the evolution of mating systems. In: Sexual
Selection and Reproductive Competition in Insects (Ed. by M.S. Blum & N. A. Blum), pp.
19-80, New York: Academic Press.
Boyce, M. S. 1990. The red queen visits Sage Grouse leks. Amer. Zool., 30,263-270.
Bressler, G. O. & Gordeuk S. Jr 1951. Effect of cecal coccidiosis on body weight, egg
production and hatchability in chickens. Poul.Sci., 30,509-511.
Brodsky, L. M. 1988. Ornament size influences mating success in male rock ptarmigan.
Anim. Behav., 36,662-667.
Buchholz, R. 1989. Singing behavior and ornamentation in the Yellow-knobbed Curassow
(Crax dauhentonil. M.S. thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Buchholz, R. 1991. Older males have bigger knobs: correlates of ornamentation in two
species of curassow. Auk, 108,53-60.
Buchholz, R. 1992. Confusing models with tests in studies of sexual selection: reply to
Jones. Auk, 109,199-201.
Burley, N., Krantzberg, G. & Radman, P. 1982. Influence of colour-banding on the
conspecific preferences of zebra finches. Anim. Behav., 30,444-455.
Burtt, E. H. 1986. An analysis of physical, physiological, and optical aspects of avian
coloration with emphasis on wood-warblers. Ornithological Monographs, 38,1-126.
Calder, W. A. & King, J. R. 1974. Thermal and caloric relations of birds. In: Avian
Biology. (Ed. by D.S. Famer & J.R. King), pp. 259-413. New York: Academic Press.
Clutton-Brock, T. & Harvey, P. 1984. Comparative studies. In: Behavioural Ecology (Ed.
by J. Krebs & N. Davies), pp. 7-29. Sunderland, MA.: Sinauer Assoc.
Collias, N. E. 1943. Statistical analysis of factors which make for success in initial
encounters between hens. Am. Nat., 77,519-538.
Crowe, T. M. 1979. Adaptive morphological variation in helmeted guineafowl Numida
meleagris and crested guineafowl Guttera pucherani. Ibis, 121, 313-320.
Crowe, T. M. & Crowe, A. A. 1979. Anatomy of the vascular system of the head and neck
of the helmeted guineafowl Numida meleagris. J. Zool. (London), 188,221-223.
Crowe, T. M. & Withers, P. C. 1979. Brain temperature regulation in Helmeted
Guineafowl. South African Journal of Science, 75,362-365.


CHAPTER 2
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ADAPTIVE SIGNIFICANCE OF "FLESHY"
STRUCTURES IN THE GALLIFORMES
Introduction
Combs, ceres, wattles, knobs, snoods and other fleshy structures are a virtually
unstudied evolutionary puzzle in avian biology. These areas of bare skin, often called
"fleshy" structures, are present in some members of at least 30% of bird families. In some
small families, fleshy structures are found in every species (e.g., Casuariidae, Fregatidae,
Callaeidae); in other larger families, fleshy structures are nearly fixed (e.g., Gruidae and
Cracidae) or widespread (e.g., Phasianidae and Meliphagidae). Fleshy structures appear to
be completely absent in only 11 of the 27 avian orders (Table 2-1). Oddly, despite the
frequency of these fleshy characters and their importance to avian taxonomy, there has never
been a thorough examination of their adaptive significance.
FS are generally assumed to be sexual ornamentation (e.g., Welty 1975) and recent
empirical studies provide strong support for both intersexual and intrasexual explanations
for the maintenance of these structures (Brodsky 1988; Boyce 1990; Hillgarth 1990; Lign
et al. 1990; Zuk et al. 1990a; 1990b; 1992; Holder & Montgomerie 1993). Unfortunately
none of these investigations has addressed nonsexual functions for these structures. In
addition no studies have addressed the costs inherent to having exposed skin. FS are a
chink in the protective armor (feathers and scales) covering a bird's body surface. Exposing
bare skin to a world of temperature extremes, aggressive competitors and disease-carrying
insects would seem to be maladaptive. Have birds evolved these seemingly costly characters
solely in the context of increased mating success?
5


35
Data analysis. The characters correlated with female mate choice were determined
by comparing the characteristics of the male solicited with those of the male not solicited in
each trial, Wilcoxon matched pairs signed-rank tests were used with characters that were
independent of other characters (Siegel, 1956). However some of the measurements of
male ornamentation covaried strongly with each other and with tarsus length (Table 3-1),
making it difficult to tease apart the relative contribution of these characters to mate choice.
Principal component factor analysis was used to isolate independent axes of variation in the
correlation matrix of the five most highly covarying characters (tarsus length, spur length,
skull cap width, stretched snood length and frontal caruncle area). Frontal caruncle area was
transformed by log (x) -5 when combined with linear measurements in the factor analysis.
Subsequently these axes were transformed (i.e. rotated) using the varimax solution to
generate four orthogonal axes on which the variables were loaded as uniquely as possible
(Table 3-2). These axes provided four sets of independent axis scores, each set composed
largely of only one character unlike the strongly covarying raw data, that could be used to
determine which of these five characters was most important to a female's choice of males.
For each trial the differences between the scores of the males presented to the female
were calculated by subtracting the score of the male not chosen from that of the male that
was chosen. If females chose males at random with respect to these characters, the
distribution of the differences between preferred and not preferred males would be expected
to have a mean of zero. A positive mean is expected if females are choosing males with the
larger or greater forms of these characters as hypothesized. Because females were used
only once, male pairings were unique in every trial and the difference between male
characters was used in the analyses. This means that each trial was independent despite the
fact that most males were used more than once. Data analysis utilized the "Spin" abilities of
SASjmp (SAS Institute Inc. 1989) and the general statistics of Statview (Abacus Concepts


Table 3-3. Mean and standard errors for morphological and display measurements for males solicited by females and males not solicited.
Variables
Solicited
Not Solicited
Probability
tarsus
16.5 (0.1)
16.3 (0.1)
ns
spur length
2.1 (0.0)
2.2 (0.1)
ns
beard length
13.6 (1.5)
14.5 (1.6)
ns
relaxed snood
3.3 (0.2)
2.7 (0.1)
0.005
stretched snood
5.2 (0.2)
4.2 (0.3)
0.005
side caruncles
31.0 (3.4)
24.0 (3.6)
ns
front caruncle area
20.7 (1.6)
17.7 (1.0)
ns
front caruncle depth
1.3 (0.0)
1.2 (0.0)
ns
skullcap width
4.9 (0.2)
4.2 (0.2)
0.005
mass
19.8 (0.5)
18.4 (0.5)
ns
condition
1.2 (0.0)
1.1 (0.0)
0.05
first factor
-0.156 (0.23)
0.157 (0.22)
ns
second factor
0.524 (0.21)
-0.481 (0.20)
0.0005
third factor
-0.213 (0.23)
0.126 (0.23)
ns
fourth factor
-0.07 (0.18)
4.4x10-5 (0.26)
ns
displayed snood length
3.1 (0.2)
2.2 (0.2)
0.002
pretrial strut rate
3.4 (0.5)
3.0 (0.6)
ns
trial strut rate
0.2 (0.1)
0.4 (0.1)
ns
time with female
1.7 (0.7)
0.4 (0.2)
0.001
Note: One-tailed probabilities are listed as nonsignificant (ns) if P>0.05. Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used for direct
measurements and unpaired t-tests were used for the factor scores.


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84
size and environmental temperatures in other avian taxa are needed to test the validity of this
hypothesis.
Studies of sexual selection rarely consider additional or alternative hypotheses for
the function of ornamental characters. Sexual selection theory generally assumes that
greater elaboration of sexually-selected traits carries with it decreased survival. The results
presented in this dissertation suggest that sexual selection may not necessarily be at odds
with natural selection. Instead sexual and natural selection may, in some cases, work in
tandem. The costs of sexually-selected ornaments are assumed to be extreme. However
attention to non-sexual hypotheses in addition to sexually-selected ones, may reveal that the
apparent benefits of extravagant characters are multiple and far outweigh the costs. Heated
debate between theoreticians on the evolutionary stability of different models of female
choice for male characteristics, has narrowed consideration of other functions for so-called
ornaments. My work suggests that a general skepticism of the ability of sexual selection to
explain everything is warranted. "A good field worker is nobody's poodle" (Grafen 1987,
p.221).


54
Live Males
In the live male dominance trials, two males were admitted to a central arena (2.7m x
5.3 x 2.7m) from their respective holding pens (Figure 4-la). The males were familiarized
with the arena for several hours on the day prior to the trial and had spent part of their
rearing period in the pen as well. No food or mates were provided in the arena, although the
males often found something to peck at on the dirt floor of the pen. This situation
simulated a random meeting of unfamiliar males on common ground with no resource to
contest. Trials lasted 10 minutes and were videotaped so that the rapidly occurring
dominance interactions could be reviewed and transcribed later.
A heirarchy of criteria was used for designating one member of the dyad as
subordinate and the other dominant Most males actually fought with one another.
Fighting begins when one male approaches the other and begins giving "fighting purrs",
vocalizations that elicit combat (Healy 1992a). The other male typically responds with
fighting purrs until one of them slaps the other with a wing while simultaneously kicking
him. The birds continue to wing slap and kick one another until one of them suddenly turns
and attempts to flee. Fleeing males are generally pursued and sometimes pecked on the
head. If the males fought, the fleeing male was designated the subordinate. In some trials
one male fled immediately upon encountering the first male and as a result was designated
the subordinate. In one trial the males did not fight nor did one flee from the other. In this
case the male that was displaced while pecking at the ground was designated the
subordinate.
For each trial I recorded the number of wingflapping bouts given by each bird prior
to physical contact (pecking in the absence of fights, or wing slapping/kicking in birds that
fought) and latency to physical contact. A wingflapping bout consisted of the male standing
in place and flapping the wings two to five times. This action pattern is often used in
aggressive contexts in Galliformes (Kruijt 1964; Buchholz 1989). If the males fought I
recorded the identity of the male who began giving "fighting purrs", the frequency of


81
wild turkey distribution or population density. These results are reinforced by early studies
on the temperature requirements of domestic turkeys. High ambient temperature
(approximately 30 C) and exposure to direct sunlight may reduce male fertility by as much
as 10% in Broad-Breasted Bronze turkeys, the domestic breed most similar in appearance to
wild turkeys (Kosin & Mitchell 1955). Wilson and Woodard (1955) found that all
domestic turkeys were subject to hyperthermia at ambient temperatures above 32 C, but
that this was particularly true of large males. In addition body temperature and water
consumption by domestic turkeys were inversely correlated with the percent shade cover
provided at ambient temperatures above 35 C (Wilson et al. 1955; Wilson & Woodard
1955). Wild turkeys experienced heat stress at 35 C in the lab in this study. All males
responded to hot chamber temperatures by panting, dropping their wings, and extending
their necks and snoods. One individual (no. 1) even became frantic at the very end of both
high temperature trials and was removed immediately. Behavioral changes that occur in
free-living wild males under hot conditions provide similar support
Mature male turkeys in northern Florida seem to avoid bright sun and in the
summer are found standing in heavy shade with dewlap and neck bright red and extended
while panting heavily (personal observation). Also it seems that males are more reluctant to
flee under these conditions and can be approached more closely than when it is cooler.
Males are faced with a thermoregulatory quandry under hot, sunny conditions. Resting
quietly in the shade maintains sublethal body temperatures but does not allow feeding,
fighting for access to mates, or displaying to females. These latter activities, however, are
also functionally and adaptively necessary, but result in metabolic heat production and
exposure to solar radiation. Field studies of the behavior of wild turkeys relative to
environmental conditions, including radiative heat load and wind speed, are needed to
understand how males tradeoff thermal needs with feeding and mating success. The results
of this study suggest that the bare head and neck of male wild turkeys enables wild turkeys
to manage these conflicting goals more successfully.


31
males. To minimize wastage only as much feed (Purina Grower or Maintenance, 19 or 12%
protein) as could be consumed in 3-4 hours was provided daily, varying seasonally.
Additionally a variety of green forage (e.g., cut grass, bamboo leaves, etc.) was provided
twice a week. Water was available ad lib.
Very limited displaying observed during pilot studies in early 1992 was attributed to
suppression by dominant males in the relatively crowded, group housing. To alleviate this
problem all males were housed individually in cylindrical wire cages (1.3 m in diameter and
lm high) at 15 months of age. Black plastic dividers prevented males from physically
interacting with males in neighboring pens, although they could see and hear other males in
pens 4 m away. Each male was fed approximately 0.51 of breeder rations (Pinina Layena,
20% protein) daily, along with occasional peanuts, wild bird seed, or carrot or apple slices.
Water was provided in 0.51 containers and was replaced daily.
Mate Choice Experiments
To investigate how wild turkey ornamentation may have evolved by female choice it
is necessary to test the assumptions and predictions of the good genes and arbitrary
preference models. First do females mate randomly with respect to male traits, and if not,
which traits do they assess in prospective mates? Second are the characters assessed by
females particularly good indicators of the male's success in dealing with factors limiting the
fitness of wild turkeys?
The mating preferences of female wild turkeys were tested in two experiments. In
the Live Male experiment, females were given a choice between two naturally displaying
males. The characteristics of males chosen by females were compared to the characteristics
of males not chosen by females to identify the characters correlated with female choice. The
Male Model experiment gave females a choice between two artificial males that differed
only in the amount of head ornamentation. The model experiment ensures that the character


26
Figure 3-1. Unfeathered head ornamentation of mature male wild turkey: a) skullcap; b)
relaxed snood; c) dewlap; d) frontal caruncles; e) side caruncles.


90
Kruijt, J. P. 1964. Ontogeny of social behavior in Burmese red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus
). Behav. SuppL, 12,1-201.
LaRochelle, J., Delson, J. & Schmidt-Nielsen, K. 1982. Temperature regulation in the
Black Vulture. Can. J. Zool., 60,491-494.
Lign, J., Thornhill, R., Zuk, M. & Johnson, K. 1990. Male-male competition,
ornamentation, and the role of testosterone in sexual selection in red jungle fowl. Anim.
Behav., 40,367-373.
Lisano, M. E. & Kennamer, J. E. 1977. Seasonal variations in the plasma testosterone level
in male eastern wild turkeys. J. Wildl. Manag., 41,184-188.
Lucas, A. & Stettenheim, P. 1972. Avian Anatomy: Integument. Washington, DC: USD A.
Manning, J. 1985. Choosy females and correlates of male age. J. Theor. Biol, 116,349-
354.
Manning, J. 1989. Age advertisement and the evolution of the peacock's train. J. Evol.
Biol., 2,299-313.
Martin, P. & Bateson, P. 1986. Measuring Behaviour. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
McClure, H. E., Poonswad, P., Greiner, E. C. & Laird, M. 1978. Haematozoa in the Birds
of Eastern and Southern Asia. St John's, Newfoundland: International Reference Centre for
Avian Haematozoa.
McKinney, F., Sorenson, L. G. & Hart, M. 1990. Multiple functions of courtship displays
in dabbling ducks (Anatini). Auk, 188-191.
McNab, B. K. 1988. Energy conservation in a tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) and
the red panda (Ailurus fulgensl. Physiol. Zool., 61,280-292.
Miller, J. E. & Leopold, B. D. 1992. Population influences: predators. In: The Wild
Turkey: Biology and Management (Ed. by J. G. Dickson), pp. 119-128. Harrisburg, PA:
Stackpole Books.
M0ller, A. P. 1987. Social control of deception among status signalling house sparrows
Passer domesticus. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 20,307-311.
Morony, J. J. Jr., Bock, W.J. & Farrand, J. Jr. 1975. Reference list of the birds of the
world. Dept of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History, New York.
Moss, R., Kolb, H., Marquiss, M., Watson, A., Treca, B., Watt, D. & Glennie, W. 1979.
Aggressiveness and dominance in captive red grouse. Aggressive Behavior, 5, 59-84.
Oberlag, D. F., Pekins, P. J. & Mautz, W. W. 1990. Influence of seasonal temperatures on
wild turkey metabolism. J. Wildl. Manag., 54,663-667.
Ogbuokirl, U. D. E. & Edgar, S. A. 1986. Effect of infections with Eimeria spp. on sperm
production of broiler strain sires. Poult. Sci., 65,184-185.


52
her mature male offspring will be able to gain access to hens. But females are not the only
sex in which selection should favor the ability to recognize dominant males. To avoid
battles in which the risk of injury outweighs gains in lifetime fitness, males should assess
the condition of their competitors before fighting. Both the receiver and the signaller might
benefit from the transmission of information about male condition (Rohwer 1975; Rohwer
1977). Dominant males avoid the costs of continually battling weaker males for preferential
access to resources and subordinate males avoid the risk of serious injury from dominant
males who are likely to be healthier and stronger and win fights (M0ller 1987). Thus both
females and males should assess the dominance status of males.
Fleshy ornaments are associated with intrasexual competition in many galliform
species (Stokkan 1979; Brodsky 1988; Lign et al. 1990; Holder & Montgomerie 1993)
and are uniquely suited to signal male status honestly. These structures generally develop
only upon sexual maturity and their size in males is known to be testosterone dependent in
some species (Allee et al. 1939; Collias 1943; Stokkan 1979). Higher testosterone levels
are often associated with dominance and increased aggressiveness in birds (Wingfield et al.
1987), suggesting that fleshy ornamentation may correlate with a male's dominance status.
Dominant males might have relatively higher testosterone levels because they are in better
physical condition (Lign et al. 1990) or because they are able to suppress the testosterone
levels of subordinate males (Lisano & Kennamer 1977).
As demonstrated earlier (Chapter 3), the snood length of male wild turkeys is a
indicator of coccidia burden, condition and possibly age. This would suggest that males
could use this aspect of male ornamentation to assess the vigor of males they encounter and
thus consider the risks of combatting those males. If this is the case, males with longer
snoods would be expected to be dominant over less ornamented males, and that males with
similarly sized ornamentation should be in the most conflict over relative status. In this
study I test this hypothesis by comparing the ornamentation of males matched in dyadic
dominance trials. However males may establish dominance not because of ornamentation


76
O C 22 C 35 C
Figure 5-2. Cooling capacities of eight turkeys with heads uninsulated
(empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.


Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males 43
Discussion 46
4 MALE DOMINANCE AND VARIATION IN FLESHY HEAD
ORNAMENTATION IN WILD TURKEYS 51
Introduction 51
Methods 53
Live Males 54
Male Model Trials 56
Results 57
Live Male Trials 57
Male Model Trials 62
Discussion 62
5 THE THERMOREGULATORY ROLE OF THE UNFEATHERED
HEAD AND NECK IN MALE WILD TURKEYS 66
Introduction 66
Methods 67
Subjects and Apparatuses 67
Experimental Design 69
Results 71
Discussion 79
GENERAL DISCUSSION 82
LIST OF REFERENCES 85
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 94
vu


12
(iii) If sexual dimorphism in FS size can be attributed to the same selective pressure as
sexual dichromatism, namely female choice, then these types of dimorphism should be
positively correlated with one another.
Dominance interactions. If social dominance provides access to resources, females that
choose dominant males may give their offspring a genetic advantage (as well as direct
benefits in systems with paternal care or territoriality). If male-male competition selects for
the advertisement of male quality via FS ornamentation (Borgia 1979), females merely need
to select the male with the best FS. How might FS signal male dominance? Reshy
structure growth seems to be mediated by testosterone (references in Lign et al. 1990).
Testosterone has been linked with aggression in many animals and is related to dominance
in some birds (Wingfield et al. 1987). Therefore dominant males with high testosterone
levels may have the biggest FS. For example, in ptarmigans (Lagopus spp.) male comb size
is correlated with dominance (Moss et al. 1979), testosterone injections increase comb size
(Stokkan 1979), and males with bigger combs have higher mating success (Brodsky 1988).
Similar correlative relationships between FS size, testosterone and dominance status are
found in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus: references in Lign et al. 1990). Presumably,
intrasexual selection is a precondition for female choice for male dominance. If FS have
evolved for intrasexual signalling the following predictions can be made.
(i) Across species FS should be associated with systems in which male-male
competition is most acute (i.e. in polygyny).
(ii) Reshy structures should be positively associated with characteristics important to
male-male competition, such as sexual size dimorphism (Payne 1984) and the presence and
sexual dimorphism of weapons such as tarsal spurs (Lign et al. 1990).
Other good genes models. The inherent costs of FS in terms of heat loss and insect
damage would suggest that these structures may serve as handicaps (Zahavi 1975; Grafen
1990a; 1990b). Handicapping traits make it more difficult for males to survive and by
doing so reveal to females the males heritable vigor. Although such traits reduce average


40
would remain adhered there during the subsequent 5 minutes of centrifugation at 1500 rpm.
During centrifugation most parasite "eggs" either float to the top and adhere to the coverslip
or sink to the bottom, depending on their specific gravity. After centrifugation the coverslip
was placed on a microscope slide and thoroughly scanned. Parasite eggs were identified
and counted directly or when present in very large numbers, estimated with the use of a
McMaster's slide. There are at least 6 species of eimerian coccidia that infect turkeys
(Davidson & Wentworth 1992). Unfortunately, these species are difficult to identify and
could only be categorized as having large or small oocysts in this study. The sediment of
each centrifuge tube was throughly examined for trematode and other eggs under a
dissecting microscope.
Additional measures of ornamentation and blood smears were collected from eight
hunter-killed wild turkeys at Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, Florida, in March
1990.
Results
Live Males Experiment
Eighteen of the 23 females tested signalled their choice of mates by soliciting
copulation from one of the two males presented in each trial. Traits of males solicited and
not solicited are compared in Table 3-3. Females strongly preferred males with
comparatively higher scores on the second rotated component, i.e. those with longer snoods
and wider skullcaps (unpaired t-test, one-tailed, v =17, mean=1.01, t=3.65, P=0.001). The
length of the male's snood during display, the character state actually visible for assessment
by females, was strongly correlated with the relaxed and stretched snood measurements
(rs=0.80, n=l 1, P=0.01; rs=0.75, n=l 1, P=0.02, respectively). The other variables that
loaded on the first, third and fourth axes: tarsus length, frontal caruncle area and spur length,
respectively, did not account for female choice of males (t-tests, one-tailed, P>0.05).
Characters analyzed individually, i.e. pre-trial strut rate, trial strut rate,


Table 2-3-continued
Hypotheses and Predictions
Dominance Interactions
species
is
N
X2
genus
rs
N
X2
tribe
rs
N
FS larger in polygynous taxa
NS, see Immediate Benefits (IB)
NS, see IB
NS, see IB
FS size increases as the weaponry
of males increases
0.08
108
0.15
0.06
38
0.00
-0.21
7
FS size increases as the sexual
dimorphism in weaponry increases
0.11
108
0.75
0.03
38
0.23
-0.04
7
SDFS increases with sexual
dimorphism in weaponry
0.11
108
5.20*
0.03
38
0.23
0.05
8
Heat Sink
FS size negatively correlated with
latitude
-0.52***
119
24.00***
-0.60***
40
6.40*
-0.75+
7
SDFS increases with latitude
0.32**
108
3.40+
0.36*
38
1.70
0.86*
7
DCFS more extreme nearer the
equator
0.34a
99
6.00a
0.48a
33
3.60a+
0.48a+
6
Solar Collector
FS size positively correlated with
latitude
not supported, see Heat Sink (HS)
not supported, see HS
not supported, see HS
SDFS decreases with latitude
not supported, see HS
not supported, see HS
not supported, see HS
+ 0.09>P>0.05; 0.05>P>0.01; ** 0.01>P>0.001; ***0.001>P>0.0001; a significant, but in opposite direction.
a+ nearly significant, but in opposite direction. SDFS, sexual dimorphism in FS size; DCFS, display change in FS size.


43
P=0.5). The remaining five females who neither solicited nor alarm called engaged in
nonsexual behaviors such as dust-bathing or preening. They also showed no preference for
either half of the arena (Binomial Test, two-tailed, P=l).
Correlates of Ornamentation in Wild Males
Nine yearling male wild turkeys were captured, measured and screened for parasites
(Table 3-4). All males sampled for these ectoparasites (7 of 9) had attached ticks
(Argasidae and Ixodidae). Ticks were most common on bare areas along the alar vein under
the wing, but also occurred on the back of the head. The total tick burden was not
significantly correlated with any measure of male ornamentation or body size (all P >0.05).
The number of ticks attached on the head, however, was positively correlated with the
relaxed length of the snood (rs= 0.7, n= 9, P=0.05). Lice were most common on the rump
(only one of seven males had no rump lice) but were not correlated with male ornamentation
(all P> 0.05). Half of the eight males sampled for back lice were infected. Numbers of lice
on the back were significantly negatively correlated with the number of side caruncles on
males (rs=-0.66, n=8, P=0.03) and showed a similar trend with the length of the tarsal spurs
(rs=-0.53, n=8, P=0.07). Total lice numbers were not correlated with any measure of male
ornamentation, size or condition (all P0.05).
One to five fecal samples were collected from each bird (mean=3.40.6). Fecal
analysis revealed two parasites to be common: a protozoan coccidia (Eimeria spp.) and a
cecal nematode (Trichostrongvlus tenuis). Eggs from an unidentified cestode were also
detected in one fecal sample flotation. Sediments from the fecal samples appeared
completely free of parasite eggs.
All nine males had infections with the large coccidia and eight of nine were infected
with small coccidia. Eimeria burdens were not negatively correlated with tarsus length, mass
or condition (all P 0.05). However coccidia burden was negatively correlated with some
measures of male ornamentation. Average burdens of the large eimerian were


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
eS-
Jane Brockmann, Chairman
Professor of Zoology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Richard A. Kiltie J
Associate Professor of Zoology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
n
¡i i
i
fi
tv
Douglas/J. Levey
Associate Professor of Zoology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Brian K. McNab
Professor of Zoology


13
male survivorship, all the offspring of males who survive despite the handicap inherit their
fathers' good genes and the sons inherit their fathers' attractive ornament as well.
Unfortunately the handicap model makes no comparative predictions about FS.
Fisher's runaway selection
This process, called arbitrary by some authors (Kodric-Brown 1993), has no
comparative predictions (Heisler et al. 1987; Buchholz 1992) because the selective agent is
random female preference, unrelated to naturally selected fitness advantages and could occur
under many environmental conditions.
Thermoregulation
The high vascularity and exposed nature of FS suggests that they may have some
function in thermoregulation (Lucas & Stettenheim 1972; Crowe & Crowe 1979; Whittow
1986). Intuitively it seems that FS should increase both the evaporative and non-evaporative
(radiation, convection, conduction) components of heat loss. In fact, birds lose a large
amount of body heat from unfeathered or lightly feathered surfaces such as the legs
(Baudinette et al. 1976) and head (Hill et al. 1980). This heat loss may be detrimental to
individuals living in environments much colder than their body temperature (Whittow 1986;
Gray & Price 1988). In species living in hot environments, however, heat loss from the
head may be essential to general homeostasis. Specific vascular adaptations may facilitate
heat loss to protect heat sensitive tissues. For example, a counter current heat exchange
system around the eye, the rete mirable opthalmica, is thought to keep the brain cooler
than the deep body temperature in some birds (Whittow 1986). Alternatively,
vascularization near the exterior of the animal may aid in the collection of solar heat when
the surrounding air temperature is low (Henneman 1988). Thus FS could function in
thermoregulation in two ways: (a) heat dissipation and (b) heat absorbtion.


34
A
Holding Area
FEMALE
: Live Male 1
i Live Male 2
B
Male Model 1
Male Model 2
FEMALE
Figure 3-2. Mate choice arenas. A) Female is admitted from a holding
area to the choice area where she has a choice of two displaying males; B)
A female is given the choice of soliciting one of two artificial males that
differ only in their snood length and side caruncle number. Screen divider
between males and female is represented by thin line.


29
approaching 60% (Healy 1992b). Food limitation during winter is probably not limited to
the northern areas of the wild turkey's distribution. A twenty-fold increase in visits to
artificial feeders during Jan-March suggests that winter food may be limited in Florida as
well (Powell 1965). How might females detect males that are superior in their abilities to
cope with these factors?
The handicap model predicts that females will prefer ornaments that reduce male
survival. These might be characters that make males more subject to predation, invite
challenge from competitors or increase the risk of starvation. To test the handicap principle
of ornamentation, experimental manipulation of the quality of male ornamentation of wild
individuals would be necessary. Because a test of the handicap model is beyond the scope
of this study, I do not discuss the predictions of this hypothesis further. However anecdotal
evidence addressing this hypothesis is presented in the discussion.
Since parasites are a ubiquitous problem for wild turkeys, the Hamilton and Zuk
(1982) theory of mate choice as an adaptation against parasitism seems a plausible
explanation for the maintenance of FS in this species. If turkey hens are using male
ornamentation to assess parasite burden, the intensity of infection by the most deleterious
parasites should be inversely correlated with the quality of male ornamentation that females
are using to choose a mate. To be favored by females, these ornaments should be better
indicators of parasite burden than other anatomical structures, such as bill or tarsus length.
Adult male wild turkeys begin their energetic courtship displays in early spring,
often while snow remains on the ground, relying on their fat reserves for sustenance
(Pelham & Dickson 1992). If the ability to access food and store energy for surviving
winter snow storms is an important determinant of survival as previous research suggests,
females may use the quality of a male's display as an indication of stored energy reserves.
If this is the case, female choice should rely heavily on the most energetic parts of the male
display and on any other characters that might be indicative of fat reserves, such as body
condition.


42
male condition, frontal caruncle depth, side caruncle number, and beard length, also did not
explain female mating preference (Wilcoxon signed rank tests, P0.05). In the live male
trials females spent significantly more time with the male that they solicited (1.7 0.72 min
for the chosen male vs. 0.42 0.17 min for the male not chosen; Mann-Whitney U-test,
ni=17, n2=17, U=74, U1=215, P=0.02). The mean time until solicitation was 2.1 0.85
min. Time until solicitation was not dependent on the similarity of the scores or measures
of any of the variables of the two males (Spearman rank correlation, P>0.05). The three
females who did not choose the male with the higher of the two scores for the second factor
seemed to mate more quickly on average than females who did (1.0+0.8 min vs. 2.31.Q
min).
Male Models Experiment
Of the 23 females tested in the male model trials, only nine solicited copulation from
the decoys. One female solicited immediately in the center of the entrance way of the arena
and thus her choice was ambiguous and this trial was excluded. Of the eight remaining
females, who clearly solicited on only one side of the arena, seven solicited before the more
ornamented model. This preference for the more ornamented model was statistically
significant (Binomial Test, one-tailed, P=0.035). Six of the eight females spent more time
with the model male that they subsequently solicited; however, this difference is not
statistically significant (Binomial Test, one-tailed, P=0.145). The two females who did not
spend more time with their preferred male also took much longer to choose (mean= 9 min
vs. 1.7 min, overall mean= 4 min). Three of the females that chose the more ornamented
model never spent any time on the side of the less ornamented decoy. The single female
that solicited the less ornamented decoy never visited the more ornamented model but
solicited in a typical amount of time (1.88 min).
Nine of the 14 nonsoliciting females were obviously distressed, as evidenced by
frequent alarm calling or frantic attempts to exit the arena, despite a training period. These
females showed no preference for either side of the arena (Binomial Test, two-tailed,


Table 3-1. Correlation matrix of morphological variables and average strut rate of the 11 males used in the mate choice trials.
Variable
tarsus
mass spur
beard
snood r
snood s
side car
fc area
fc depth
skullcap
tarsus
1.00
mass
0.91
1.00
spur
-0.66
-0.55 1.00
beard
0.18
0.32 -0.13
1.00
snood-r
0.65
0.54 -0.47
-0.46
1.00
snood-s
0.32
0.22 -0.45
-0.48
0.83
1.00
side car
-0.03
0.01 0.03
-0.05
0.15
0.10
1.00
fc area
0.45
0.45 -0.50
0.22
0.34
0.17
0.11
1.00
fc depth
-0.03
-0.05 -0.28
0.06
0.12
0.43
0.10
0.56
1.00
skullcap
-0.04
0.12 -0.09
-0.13
0.45
0.62
0.20
0.12
0.33
1.00
strut rate
-0.16
0.07 -0.07
-0.42
0.29
0.47
0.18
-0.12
0.09
0.51
Snood-r is relaxed snood length, snood-s is stretched snood length, side car. is side caruncle number, fc area is frontal caruncle area, fc
depth is frontal caruncle depth, strut rate is average pre-trial strut rate.


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF FLESHY ORNAMENTATION
IN WILD TURKEYS AND RELATED BIRDS
By
Richard Buchholz
August, 1994
Chairman: H. Jane Brockmann
Major Department: Zoology
Wattles and other types of unfeathered fleshy ornamentation in birds are puzzling to
evolutionary biologists because these structures increase the bird's susceptibility to blood
feeding insects and heat loss, without providing any obvious benefits. This study tests
sexual and nonsexual hypotheses for the evolution and maintenance of fleshy
ornamentation in galliform birds, particularly the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
A comparative study of the elaboration of fleshy structures in the avian order
Galliformes identified the evolutionary pressures under which fleshy structures may have
evolved. After controlling for the effects of body size and shared phylogeny, the lack of
clear cut associations between fleshy ornamentation and other types of ornaments suggests
that sexual selection has not played an important role in the evolution of these structures.
Strong negative correlations with latitude, on the other hand, are supportive of a
thermoregulatory role for these characters.
Sexual selection for the maintenance of fleshy ornamentation was tested in mate
choice and dominance trials using wild turkeys raised in captivity. If the wild turkey's
vm


Oxygen Consumption (cm3/g*hr)
75
0 C 22 C 35 C
Figure 5-1. Oxygen consumption of eight turkeys with heads
uninsulated (empty squares) and insulated (filled squares) at three ambient
temperatures. Presented in order of increasing body mass.


Table 4-2. Results after varimax transformation of a PCA of the correlation matrix of the seven male characters listed below as measured
from 28 males. The rotated factor pattern indicates how strongly each character is associated with each independent axis.
Rotated Factor Pattern
First Factor
Second Factor
Third Factor
Fourth Factor
spur length
-0.13
0.90
0.03
0.21
relaxed snood
0.62
0.16
0.58
0.14
skullcap width
0.08
0.15
0.91
0.21
caruncle area
0.44
0.61
0.44
0.14
caruncle depth
-0.19
0.04
-0.95
-0.20
side caruncle no.
0.50
0.68
0.36
0.10
mass
0.94
0.00
0.05
0.07
Proportion of Common
0.29
0.29
0.25
0.17
Variance Explained by
Factor


24
also be maintained as a result of their thermoregulatory functions. Considering alternative
or congruent hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamental characters provides a better
understanding of how seemingly extravagant characters can be quite functional in a practical
sense. Unfortunately in the absence of an accurate, detailed phylogeny it is impossible to
determine if FS first evolved for heat dissipation or in sexual selection. Comparative studies
of the probable ancestral states of ornamentation and behavior have provided unique insight
into how sexually selected characters first come under assessment by females (Basolo
1990; Hill 1994). Similar studies of ornamental characters with both sexually selected and
naturally selected hypotheses in mind may provide a better understanding of how
extravagant characters can evolve despite their apparent costs.
Fleshy structures differ from other forms of ornamentation in many ways. They are
living integumentary outgrowths and thus have inherent costs that other nonliving forms of
ornamentation, such as big tails or long spurs, do not possess. Similarly the highly
vascularized nature of FS makes them more likely to be functional outside of the realm of
reproduction. Therefore, they are uniquely suited for identifying the conflicting forces of
sexual and natural selection that produce different suites of elaboration in separate
populations of the same or closely related species (Endler 1983; Kodric-Brown 1990). A
recognition among empiricists and theoreticians that ornamental structures may have
multiple beneficial functions, such as the apparent heat dissipation value of FS, the
thermoregulatory values of squirrel tails, ultrasonic emissions and duck bills, may advance
our understanding of the evolution of extravagant characters.


60
The differences between the two males scores on factors 2,3 and 4 were not
significantly different from zero (mean differences = -0.14,0.5,0.11, respectively; Table 4-
3). However the results for factor 1, though only nearly significant, suggest that snood
length and body mass may be associated with dominance in male wild turkeys (mean
difference = 0.48). When the difference between dominant and subordinate males in these
characters are assessed directly, without the aid of factor analysis, relaxed snood length is
the only character that is significantly different between the two groups (Table 4-3).
However dominant males on average had higher values for all ten of the variables measured
(Binomial test, N=10, one-tailed, P=0.06).
Individuals that started fights were no more likely to become dominant than those
that responded to the threat behavior (X2=2.27, v=l, p> 0.05). The time until first contact in
the 13 trials in which contact occurred averaged 129.2 sec, although 85% were 32 sec or
less. The difference in ornamentation of the males was associated with the time until first
contact between males that actually fought The time until first contact was positively
correlated with differences between males on the second factor (spur length, caruncle area
and depth; rs= 0.52, n=13, p=0.07). This relationship was statistically significant if the raw
differences in spur length are tested rather than the factor scores (rs= 0.59, p=0.04). The
difference in the frequency of wingflapping bouts prior to contact, on the other hand, was
negatively associated with time until first contact, although only nearly significantly (rs=
-0.50, p=0.08).
The males had been divided into two matched groups for the dominance trials:
nondisplayers and displayers. The eleven displayer males tended to have longer stretched
snoods (4.0 vs. 4.6 cm; U=56, U^Bl, p=0.08) and larger factor two scores (spur, frontal
caruncle area and depth; U=52, UJ= 135, p=0.05). However only caruncle depth was
significantly different when the raw values of these variables were compared between the
two groups (1.0 vs 1.2 cm; U=30.5, 156.5, p=0.003).


CHAPTER 5
THE THERMOREGULATORY ROLE OF THE
UNFEATHERED HEAD AND NECK IN MALE WILD TURKEYS
Introduction
Emdotherms usually maintain body temperatures above environmental temperature at
considerable energetic cost An unexplained exception to the general endotherm pattern of
having insulation against heat loss are birds that have brightly colored areas of unfeathered
skin on their heads and necks. Although the bright coloration of these structures is
consistent with a sexually selected function, some studies have suggested that these areas of
bare skin also maintain sublethal brain temperatures by dissipating heat via cephalo-cervical
retes (Crowe & Crowe 1979; Crowe & Withers 1979; LaRochelle et al. 1982; Chapter 2).
The heat dissipation hypothesis is supported by correlative studies showing that unfeathered
head and neck skin is maximally exposed at high temperatures and that in some taxa the
size of unfeathered areas is greater at low latitudes where heat dissipation may be of greater
importance (Crowe 1979; Chapter 2). Highly vascularized fleshy ornamentation presents a
functional puzzle when species are distributed over a large latitudinal range in which they
are exposed to both temperature extremes. Although these species may benefit by using
their FS to dissipate heat under hot conditions, the uninsulated nature of these structures
subjects them to extreme heat loss under cold conditions and heat gain in the presence of
solar radiation. In this study I test the possible thermoregulatory function of unfeathered
head ornamentation in a species that commonly faces extremes of cold and heat, the wild
turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
Wild turkeys occur over a broad range of temperature extremes from their southern
limit in southern Mexico to their northern limits along the US-Canada border (Dickson
66


91
Oosthuizen, J. H. & Markus, M. B. 1967. The Haematozoa of South African birds. I:
Blood and other parasites of two species of game birds. Ibis, 109,115-117.
Oosthuizen, J. H. & Markus, M. B. 1969. The haematozoa of South African birds. V:
Report on blood smears collected by the September 1967 Percy FitzPatrick Institute
expedition to the Chobe. Ostrich, 40,21-22.
Pagel, M. & Harvey, P. 1988. Recent developments in the analysis of comparative data. Q.
Rev. Biol., 63,413-440.
Parker, G. A. 1974. Assessment strategy and the evolution of fighting behaviour. J. Theor.
BioL, 47,
Payne, R. B. 1984. Sexual selection, lek and arena behavior, and sexual size dimorphism in
birds. Omithol. Monog., 33,1-52.
Peirce, M. A. 1981. Distribution and host-parasite checklist of the hematozoa of birds in
Western Europe. J. Nat. Hist., 15,419-458.
Pelham, R H. & Dickson, J. G. 1992. Physical Characteristics. In:The Wild Turkey:
Biology and Management (Ed. by J.G. Dickson), pp. 32-45. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole
Books.
Powell, J.A. 1965. The Florida Wild Turkey. Tech. Bull. No. 8, Florida Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee, FL.
Prestwood, A. K., Kellogg, F. E. & Doster, G. L. 1973. Parasitism and disease among
southeastern wild turkeys. In: Wild Turkey Management: Current Problems and Programs
(Ed. by G.C. Sanderson & H.C. Schultz), pp. 159-167. Columbia, MO: University of
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Randi, E., Fusco, G., Lorenzini, R. & Crowe, T. 1991. Phylogenetic relationships and rates
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Read, A. 1987. Comparative evidence supports the Hamilton and Zuk hypothesis on
parasites and sexual selection. Nature, 328,68-70.
Reichholf, J. 1988. Macht der Sperbergeier Gyps rueppellii ein "Drohgesicht". Verhalten
Omithologische Geselschaft Bayern, 24,751-755.
Richner, H. 1989. Phenotypic correlates of dominance in carrion crows and their effects
on access to food. Anim. Behav., 38,606-612.
Rohwer, S, 1975. The social significance of avian winter plumage variability. Evolution, 29,
593-610.
Rohwer, S. 1977. Status signalling in Harris' sparrows: some experiments in deception.
Behaviour, 61,107-129.
Ruff, M. 1988. Effect of coccidiosis on reproductive maturation of male Japanese Quail.
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Ruff, M. D., Fagan, J. M. & Dick, J. W. 1984. Pathogenicity of coccidia in Japanese quail
(Cotumix cotumix japnica). Poul. ScL 63,55-60.


Table 4-1. Correlation matrix (r2) of characters measured from 28 males used in dominance trials.
Variable
Tarsus
Spur
length
length
Spur
length
.14
Beard
length
.118
.24
Relaxed
snood
.188
.158
Stretched
snood
-.154
.165
Caruncle
depth
.165
.503
Mass
.228
-.029
No. side
caruncles
.255
.37
Skullcap
width
.071
.253
Caruncle
.036
.422
Beard
length
Relaxed
snood
Stretched
snood
-.057
-.251
.598
.352
.601
.433
.339
.522
.249
.157
.368
.106
.16
.526
.444
.336
.586
.334
Caruncle
depth
Mass
No. side
caruncles
.451
.409
.158
.485
.235
.433
.759
.372
.439
Skullcap
width
.493


30
Age is perhaps the most honest indicator of good genes. Males that survive despite
parasites, predators, and food shortages have demonstrated their superior ability merely by
remaining alive. Thus females may choose mates based on ornamentation that reliably
reveals male age. Although beard length and body weight are positively correlated with age,
spur length is thought to be the best indicator of yearly age classes in eastern wild turkeys
(M. g. silvestris: Kelly 1975; Steffen et al. 1990). This suggests that females should choose
to mate with males with longer spurs.
The arbitrary preference models for the evolution of male ornamentation predict no
relationship between ornamentation and male survival or condition. If the characters chosen
by females are not related to any of the factors that limit turkey survival or fecundity, it
seems reasonable to conclude that they are maintained purely by the increased mating
success of the male without any direct increase in the reproductive success of the female. I
test these hypotheses for the maintenance of ornamentation in wild turkeys with
experimental data collected from captive mate-choice trials and correlational data collected
from wild caught males.
Methods
Study Species
Day-old wild turkey poults were purchased in May 1991 from a gamefarm (L&L
Pheasantry, Hegins, PA, USA) whose large breeder flock continued to experience gene flow
from wild males (M- g- silvestris) until a decade ago. Poults were raised indoors under
heat lamps with gamebird starter feed (Purina Startena, 30% protein) and water provided M
libitum After eight weeks the birds were transferred to a large (5.3m x 5.3m x 2.6m)
outdoor pen at the Florida Museum of Natural History's Special Projects Laboratory.
After 14 weeks of age, males were maintained separately from the females in two
visually isolated groups of 16 in sand-floored aviaries (5.3m x 5.3m x 2.6m). Females
were moved to a cement-floored pen (5m x 12m x 4m) that was visually isolated from the


93
Williams, L. & Austin, D. 1988. Studies of the Wild Turkey in Florida. Gainesville:
University Presses of Florida.
Wilson, W. O., Edwards, W. H., Plaister, T. L., Hillerman, J. & Woodard, A. 1955. The
shade requirement of growing turkeys. Poul. Sci., 34,505-508.
Wilson, W O. & Woodard, A. 1955. Some factors affecting body temperatures of
turkeys. Poul. Sci., 34,369-371.
Wingfield, J. C., Ball, G. F., Dufty, A. M. Jr, Hegner, R. E. & Ramenofsky, M. 1987.
Testosterone and aggression in birds. Am. Sci., 75,602-608
Wink, M. & Bennett, G. F. 1976. Blood parasites of some birds from Ghana. J. Wildl.
Dis., 12,587-590.
Withers, P. & Crowe, T. 1980. Brain temperature fluctuations in helmeted guineafowl
under semi-natural conditions. Condor, 82,99-100.
Zahavi, A. 1975. Mate selection- a selection for a handicap. J. Theor. Biol., 53,205-214.
Zuk, M., Johnson, K., Thornhill, R. & Lign, J. 1990a. Mechanisms of female choice in
red jungle fowl. Evolution, 44,477-485.
Zuk, M., Lign, J. D. & Thornhill, R. 1992. Effects of experimental manipulation of male
secondary sex characters on female mate preference in red jungle fowl. Anim. Behav., 44,
999-1006.
Zuk, M., Thornhill, R., Lign, J. & Johnson, K. 1990b. Parasites and mate choice in red
jungle fowl. Amer. Zool., 30,235-244.


CHAPTER 1
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Brightly colored plumage, large branching antlers and delicately curved horns,
elaborate tails and courtship behaviors in animals seem inconsistent with our general notion
of the parsimony of nature. These characters are often called "extravangant" or
"ornamental" because they are particularly striking in appearance to human observers and
detailed studies of their function have not been conducted. They are ornamental in the sense
that they make the bearer physically more obvious without having any direct, functional
purpose, such as in catching food items or digging burrows. These extravagant characters
may increase the predation risks of animals that have them and likely have costs in terms of
the energy needed to grow and maintain them. Despite the potentially high costs of having
extravagant ornamentation, little is known of the benefits. However the dramatic physical
appearance of these structures, coupled with their development at reproductive maturity or
seasonally with breeding has led most authors to suggest that they have evolved via sexual
selection, that is that they have some function in increasing mating success. Thus the high
costs associated with ornamentation are assumed to be counterbalanced by increased
reproductive success. Assumptions about the adaptive benefit of "ornamental" structures
under sexual selection often make intuitive sense. Unfortunately additional hypotheses that
might explain how these traits evolved over time or how they are currently maintained are
rarely considered. The goal of my doctoral research is to propose and test both sexual and
nonsexual hypotheses for the evolution and maintenance of a subset of avian ornamentation
commonly called fleshy structures (FS).
1


48
Because harsh winters limit survivorship in wild turkeys, it was hypothesized that
females should try to assess male ability to survive such conditions. It was hypothesized
that turkey hens could assess male condition by the male's ability to perform energetically
costly displays. This hypothesis was not supported directly. Male condition and display
frequency during the mate choice trial did not explain variation in female choice. In fact
some females solicited so quickly that they would have had little opportunity to measure
male strut frequency. However the characters females assessed during mate choice, snood
length and skullcap width, were positively correlated with the male's average strut frequency
over all his trials (Table 2-1). In the well-fed captive turkeys neither average strut frequency,
relaxed or stretched snood lengths nor display snood length were correlated with male
condition. But after statistically removing any effects of age, the stretched snood length of
wild males was significantly positively correlated with male condition and age was no
longer correlated with snood length. Although male strut frequency was apparently not
assessed by females during the mate choice trials, females mated with males that strutted at a
higher rate and that were in better condition by choosing males with longer snoods and
wider skullcaps. Further field captures and experimental manipulations will be necessary to
determine if display rate is a specific indicator of the stored fat resources of the male.
Male age is perhaps the best indicator of a male's good genes. Older males are
probably not a random sample in terms of natural selection; they have survived multiple
challenges over time, including parasitism, starvation and predation. One hypothesis for the
maintenance of male ornamentation in wild turkeys is that these characters serve as
indicators of male age. In this study captive females did not choose among 2 year old males
based on previously documented age class indicators, such as spur length. This may be
because these cues provide no information when males are very similar, i.e. within one age
class. Unfortunately previous studies of correlates of wild turkey age have ignored the head
ornamentation of males (Kelly 1975; Steffen et al. 1990). Results from a limited sample of
wild males covering three age classes shows that the characters females are assessing in