Date of Award
Even with the vast amount of research regarding mating vocalizations and their adaptive functions, the copulation call of female wild turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo, has yet to be described. The purpose of this study was to describe this novel call, referred to as karoo and to test three hypotheses for its function. Previously collected data in the form of video tapes and data sheets provided the basis of this study. Dr. Richard Buchholz conducted experimental trials in 2008 and 2009. Male behavioral data was recorded on the videos. The videos and the data sheets were used to collect female behavioral data. In order to assess the effect of the karoo, male behavioral data were compared in four different ways. Randomization tests were then performed to analyze the data. Female behavioral data were analyzed using a chi-squared test, unpaired t-tests and descriptive statistics. Males karooed to 'focal males' and significantly increased their courtship efforts after hearing a karoo when compared to their eavesdropping neighbors Karooing hens were more likely to karoo while soliciting, as well as, karoo multiple times to a single male. According to the results, the competitive hypothesis is the more supported than the urgency and healthy female hot mama hypotheses. Karooing may allow females to assess male dominance and ultimately allow her to mate with the highest quality male. If this is true, karooing females should receive increased fitness benefits as a result of the karoo.
Grey, Callie, "Understanding the Karoo: Investigating the Function of a Copulation Call in Female Wild Turkeys Meleagris gallopavo" (2014). Honors Theses. 151.