Negative information in mate-choice copying

  • Outreach publications
  • Jan, 2015

Varela, S.A.M., Matos, M. & Santos, M. (2015) Negative information in mate-choice copying. UABDivulga, Barcelona Research and Innovation, Spain.


Choosing whom to mate with is one of the most important decisions for any living organism, especially for females, for whom the costs of reproduction are generally higher. It is, therefore, expected that sexual selection will act on female mate choice behaviour, favouring the ones capable of making the better decisions. The classical models of female mate choice evolution assume that their preferences are genetically innate. This means that females with an (e.g.) allele for “green preference” would prefer mating with males displaying green ornaments, and that this preference will never change throughout females’ lives, independently of the performance of green males. Are females’ preference exclusively genetic and, therefore, immutable? Empirical evidence suggests it is not.