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Keywords:

  • bet-hedging;
  • copying;
  • mate choice;
  • mating skew;
  • sexual selection

Mate choice by females may be influenced by both advertizing traits of males, and behaviour of other females. Here, a simple genetic and behavioural model studies the advantages of mate-choice copying. From a genetic point of view, a female preferring to copy others’ mate choice adopts a prudent strategy, because her offspring will inherit the same alleles from their father as the other young in the population. The model predicts that a female should copy others’ mate-choice, unless she encounters a relatively more attractive male than the one she has observed mating, and the attractiveness of the male reflects his genotype. For low or moderate reliability of male signalling, mate-copying is always predicted, even if the newcoming male is more attractive than the first male. This effect is attenuated, however, when the number of females that have already chosen the first male increases.