Courtship And Mating Systems Courtship

The specific motor patterns and physical displays associated with courtship behavior vary among livestock species and can also vary among individuals within a species. Some individuals may display frequent precop-ulatory behaviors, whereas others may attempt to copulate with little or no courtship. Detailed descriptions of courtship displays of domesticated animals are avail-able.[1] In many nondomesticated species these displays serve to: regulate species recognition and ensure reproductive isolation; bring males and females into close proximity; synchronize the pair to bring about sexual readiness; and lead to actual fertilization or copulation. Breeding practices extending over many generations in domesticated species have modified the selective pressures that influence the frequency, but not necessarily the form, of courtship displays. In intensively managed livestock systems, animals that mate quickly with few precopulatory courtship displays may have been selected as the preferred behavioral phenotype. Thus, over time, courtship displays have become less pronounced in many domesticated species.

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