Behaviour 2019
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Geographic vocal variation and asymmetric behavioural response in a Neotropical songbird
Ron A. Fernández-Gómez1, Jorge E. Morales-Mávil1, Laura T. Hernández-Salazar1, J. Roberto Sosa-López2. 1Instituto de Neuroetología, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico; 2Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional Unidad Oaxaca (CIIDIR), Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico

Acoustic signals are essential for mating, defending resources, and recognition. These signals may vary geographically under selective or random pressures, playing an essential role in the species interaction, reproductive isolation, and speciation.  In vocal learning species, the divergence in songs is complemented by cultural transmission. We explored the effects of geographic isolation in the song perception in the Olive Sparrow, Arremonops rufivirgatus, a Neotropical songbird with allopatric populations. We found a geographic vocal variation in the song with divergence among populations within the complex. Then, we test whether males recognized the song variations using playback experiments. We noticed an asymmetrical response pattern but with response intensity being predicted by the acoustic similarity, suggesting that males from the different populations may use a similar mechanism to recognize signals. Our findings provide information from a behavioural outlook about how song variations are perceived by populations with consequences for reproductive isolation and population differentiation.