The Role of Mate-Choice Copying and Disruption Effects in Mate Preference Determination of Limia perugiae (Cyprinodontiformes, Poeciliidae)

Authors

  • Scott L. Applebaum,

    1. University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas, and Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
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  • Alexander Cruz

    1. University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas, and Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
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Corresponding author: Scott L. Applebaum, University of Texas Marine Science Institute, 750 Channel View Drive, Port Aransas, TX 78373, USA. E-mail: scotta@utmsi.utexas.edu

Abstract

Recent experimental and theoretical evidence suggests that social factors may play an important role in female choice and sexual selection. This is in contrast to the assumption made by most classical sexual selection models that female preferences are entirely determined by genetic factors. This study examined whether female preferences in the poeciliid fish Perugia's Limia (Limia perugiae) are reversible through (i) mate-choice copying (imitative) behavior, or (ii) a disruption effect (reduced consistency of female preference in response to disruption). Females in binary choice trials were given a mate-choice copying opportunity by exposing them to a second, model female displaying a preference for a male that was not initially preferred. Females were found to reverse their initial preference significantly more often when presented with an opportunity to observe the model female then in the absence of such an opportunity. In separate trials, females were presented with the opportunity to observe a model female displaying a preference for a male that was initially preferred. No significant difference was observed in the number of reversals between treatments in which females were presented with a copying opportunity that contradicted their initial preference and one that reinforced it. Our results suggest that mate-choice copying does not contribute significantly to female preferences in L. perugiae and that disruption may reduce the ability of females to choose consistently.

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