Field crickets change mating preferences using remembered social information

Nathan W. Bailey, Marlene Zuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plasticity in female mate choice can fundamentally alter selection onmale ornaments, but surprisingly few studies have examined the role of social learning in shaping female mating decisions in invertebrates. We used the field cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus to show that females retain information about the attractiveness of available males based on previous social experience, compare that information with incoming signals and then dramatically reverse their preferences to produce final, predictable, mating decisions. Male ornament evolution in the wild may depend much more on the social environment and behavioural flexibility through learning than was previously thought for non-social invertebrates. The predictive power of these results points to a pressing need for theoretical models of sexual selection that incorporate effects of social experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-451
Number of pages3
JournalBiology Letters
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 23 2009

Keywords

  • Mate choice
  • Preference function
  • Sexual selection
  • Social learning
  • Teleogryllus oceanicus

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