Behaviour 2019
Mating opportunities can reduce the expression of sickness behaviors in Japanese quail
Brenna MG Gormally, Kaelyn Bridgette, Aubrey Emmi, Delilah Schuerman, Patricia C Lopes. Chapman University, Orange, CA, United States

Research has suggested that mating opportunities can modulate sickness behaviors (i.e., behavioral symptoms resulting from inflammation). However, this effect has not yet been extensively studied. Here, we assessed how female presence affects sickness behaviors in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). We manipulated sickness status in male quail with injections of either saline or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and then monitored activity. As expected, we found that LPS increased immobility and decreased instances of crowing, eating, and drinking. When females were present, LPS and saline-treated male quail expressed similar levels of sexual behavior. Interestingly, female presence led to all males resting for longer periods of time relative to isolated males, possibly indicative of the energy requirements of mating. When this immobility data was broken down in to periods of standing (upright) and crouching, we found that when females were present, LPS-treated males crouched less than their isolated counterparts. This suggests that when presented with mating opportunities, Japanese quail can mask certain sickness behaviors.