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Mate-sampling costs and sexy sons


Kokko, H; Booksmythe, I; Jennions, M D (2015). Mate-sampling costs and sexy sons. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 28(1):259-266.

Abstract

Costly female mating preferences for purely Fisherian male traits (i.e. sexual ornaments that are genetically uncorrelated with inherent viability) are not expected to persist at equilibrium. The indirect benefit of producing ‘sexy sons’ (Fisher process) disappears: in some models, the male trait becomes fixed; in others, a range of male trait values persist, but a larger trait confers no net fitness advantage because it lowers survival. Insufficient indirect selection to counter the direct cost of producing fewer offspring means that preferences are lost. The only well-cited exception assumes biased mutation on male traits. The above findings generally assume constant direct selection against female preferences (i.e. fixed costs). We show that if mate-sampling costs are instead derived based on an explicit account of how females acquire mates, an initially costly mating preference can coevolve with a male trait so that both persist in the presence or absence of biased mutation. Our models predict that empirically detecting selection at equilibrium will be difficult, even if selection was responsible for the location of the current equilibrium. In general, it appears useful to integrate mate sampling theory with models of genetic consequences of mating preferences: being explicit about the process by which individuals select mates can alter equilibria.

Abstract

Costly female mating preferences for purely Fisherian male traits (i.e. sexual ornaments that are genetically uncorrelated with inherent viability) are not expected to persist at equilibrium. The indirect benefit of producing ‘sexy sons’ (Fisher process) disappears: in some models, the male trait becomes fixed; in others, a range of male trait values persist, but a larger trait confers no net fitness advantage because it lowers survival. Insufficient indirect selection to counter the direct cost of producing fewer offspring means that preferences are lost. The only well-cited exception assumes biased mutation on male traits. The above findings generally assume constant direct selection against female preferences (i.e. fixed costs). We show that if mate-sampling costs are instead derived based on an explicit account of how females acquire mates, an initially costly mating preference can coevolve with a male trait so that both persist in the presence or absence of biased mutation. Our models predict that empirically detecting selection at equilibrium will be difficult, even if selection was responsible for the location of the current equilibrium. In general, it appears useful to integrate mate sampling theory with models of genetic consequences of mating preferences: being explicit about the process by which individuals select mates can alter equilibria.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:costly female choice; fisherian sexual selection; mate sampling
Language:English
Date:16 November 2015
Deposited On:20 Feb 2015 14:12
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:49
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1010-061X
Additional Information:This is the accepted version of the following article: [Kokko, H., Booksmythe, I. and Jennions, M. D. (2015), Mate-sampling costs and sexy sons. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 28: 259–266. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12532], which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jeb.12532/abstract.
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.12532
PubMed ID:25399634

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