Neuronal Correlates of Partner Recognition in Newts
The European salamanders and newts of the family Salamandridae show conspicuous body colorations that are different in each species. In the genus Triturus moreover the male and female of the same species are differently colored, and these patterns become more sharply defined during the spring breeding season. Thus, it is easy to distinguish the sexes and the species within this genus. The experiments reported here, were designed in order to test whether or not the animals themselves use their color patterns to recognize their partners and which neuronal processes might be involved in such pattern recognition. During courtship behavior of newts nonvisual stimuli, like pheromones and water currents, are important (cf. Prechtl, 1951; Halliday, 1974). The first response of the male, however, is visually guided. If a female appears, the male turns toward her, approaches her, and than noses at her cloaca. The key stimuli releasing these initial movements were analysed.
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