Apr 2, 2016

The evolution of mutual mate choice under direct benefits

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Alexandre CourtiolFrançois Rousset


In nature, the intensity of mate choice (ie choosiness) is highly variable within and between sexes. Despite growing empirical evidence showing male and/or mutual mate choice, theoretical investigations of the joint evolution of female and male choosiness are few. In addition, previous approaches have often assumed an absence of trade-off between the direct benefits per mating and the lower mating rate that results from being choosy. Here, we model the joint evolution of female and male choosiness when it is solely ruled by this fundamental trade-off. We show that this trade-off can generate a diversity of stable combinations of choosiness. Mutual mate choice can only evolve if both females and males exhibit long latency after mating. Further, we show that an increase in choosiness in one sex does not necessarily prevent the evolution of mutual mate choice: the outcome depends on details of the life history, the decision rule for mate choice, and how the fecundity of a pair is shaped by the quality of both individuals. Lastly, we discuss the power of the sensitivity of the relative searching time (ie of the proportion of lifetime spent searching for mates) as a predictor of the joint evolution of choosiness.

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