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Origin and Maintenance of a Female Mating Preference

Catherine A. Marler and Michael J. Ryan
Evolution
Vol. 51, No. 4 (Aug., 1997), pp. 1244-1248
DOI: 10.2307/2411053
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2411053
Page Count: 5
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Abstract

We investigated the role of maintenance and origin of female mating preferences in three species of fish. Poecilia latipinna and P. mexicana are sexual species that hybridized to form the gynogenetic clonal P. formosa, which reproduces asexually but requires sperm to initiate embryogenesis. We demonstrate that all three species display almost identical and statistically indistinguishable preferences for large males. Although processes of good genes, runaway sexual selection, and direct selection could maintain preferences in the sexual species, good genes and runaway sexual selection are unlikely to operate in the asexual species. Furthermore, we found that the most likely direct selection benefit, an increase in fecundity, can also be excluded in the gynogens. We conclude that the most parsimonious explanation for this P formosa preference is that it was inherited from the parental species and is maintained without forces generated by good genes, runaway selection, or direct selection for increased fecundity. This preference may be maintained because of pleiotropic effects (e.g., sensory bias) or mate searching costs.

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