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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Evolution of Mate Preference among Strategically Allocated Males

Jonathan T. Rowell and Maria R. Servedio
The American Naturalist
Vol. 173, No. 1 (January 2009), pp. 12-25
DOI: 10.1086/593356
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/593356
Page Count: 14
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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Evolution of Mate Preference among Strategically Allocated Males
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Abstract

Abstract: Male mate selection during polygyny traditionally has been eclipsed in the literature by its female counterpart. Existing models that have studied male mate choice have concluded that males with genetically inherited preferences for females exhibiting particular traits are often less fit than males without such a preference, leading to preference loss. In this article, we explore the consequences of a fundamental difference between male and female mate choice, the way in which the opposite sex acts as a resource during mating. By incorporating a strategic process at the ecological level, we show that if males are allowed to actively adjust the distribution of their courtship efforts over the available classes of females, male preference can be maintained as a polymorphism. Further, the resulting coexistence induces a reproductive segregation within the population that, when coupled with genetic control of female traits, can lead to strong linkage disequilibrium between the alleles for trait and preference. These processes can cause complete assortative mating to emerge in the model.

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