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Heather Auld, Post Doctoral Researcher, Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, OSU

Sexual selection, social information and male mate choice in a promiscuous fish

Thursday, May 18, 2017 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Heather Auld, Post Doctoral Researcher, Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, OSU

"Sexual selection, social information and male mate choice in a promiscuous fish"

Compared to female mate choice, relatively little is known about male mate choice and the selective pressures that shape it. My work focuses on the influence of available and inexpensive social information on male mating behaviour, including mate choice. To gain insights into the influence of the social environment on male mating behaviour, I carried out multiple experimental studies using a promiscuous fish, the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata), as a model species. In dichotomous choice tests, females in this population demonstrated a strong mating preference for large males and a weaker, but significant, preference for males with greater amounts of colour ornamentation. In the absence of sexual rivals, male guppies exhibited an overall preference for large females, but with consistent and repeatable inter-individual variation in both mating effort and mate choice. When conspecific males were present, male guppies paid attention to their social environment and, when given the opportunity, copied the mate choice of a nearby sexual rival. In theory, males should adjust their mating behaviour so as to minimize the potential costs of being copied. As expected, males decreased their preference for an initially preferred female in the presence of a larger, more competitive sexual rival. They also decreased their overall mating effort and used less conspicuous, but also less successful, sneak mating attempts in the presence of an audience of one or two rivals. Overall, my work highlights the important influence of the social environment on the evolution of male mating behaviour and social partner choice.


OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center
Guin Library Seminar Room
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport
OR
Michael Banks
maryann.bozza at oregonstate.edu
Hatfield Marine Sci Ctr
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