Essay on Contemporary Issues in Ethology: Behavioral Ecology and the Study of Partner Choice


Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


Female mate choice has been studied extensively by behavioral ecologists and ethologists. Mate choice is, however, only one form of 'partner choice'. Recent experimental work has demonstrated the existence of partner choice in many other contexts, for example, antipredator behavior, foraging behavior, mate searching, and anti-parasite decisions. These studies have revealed important new insights for the study of partner choice. We review these studies, and suggest how they might both pave the way for future work in this area and provide the underpinnings for a comprehensive conceptual framework for studying partner choice.