Male choosiness emerges when females have multiple partners

April 4, 2017, University of Jyväskylä

Academy researchers Mikael Puurtinen and Lutz Fromhage at the Department of Biological and Environmental Science of the University of Jyväskylä and the Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions have found out that male choosiness is more likely than previously recognized. The results have been recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Male choosiness is a natural evolutionary outcome

Female choice for good quality males is familiar to everyone, whereas much less is known about the evolution of male mate choice. Researchers of the University of Jyväskylä have studied the evolution of male and female mating strategies and mate choice for female fecundity and male fertilization ability in a system where both sexes can mate with multiple partners, and where there is variation in individual quality.

"The new research helps to understand when and why male choosiness evolves" says academy researcher Mikael Puurtinen. "By modelling a system where females can mate multiply to enhance fertility, and males compete for fertilization of female eggs, researchers show that male choosiness readily evolves. When females mate with many males, the value of matings diminishes for males. By discriminating among females, and prudently allocating their resources, choosy can have an evolutionary advantage," he says.

Explore further: Male orb-weaving spiders cannibalized by females may be choosy about mating

More information: Mikael Puurtinen et al. Evolution of male and female choice in polyandrous systems, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.2174

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