Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Biol Sci. 2001 Jan 7;268(1462):83-5.

Reversible frequency-dependent switches in male mate choice.

Author information

  • 1Evolutionary Biology Group, University of Antwerp (RUCA), Belgium.


Current sexual-selection theories predict that mating should occur preferentially with the highest-quality partner, and assume that for distinguishing among potential mates the choosy sex applies an internal representation of the characteristics of the desired mate, i.e. a template. Binary choice experiments were performed to test male mate choice between two different female colour morphs in the damselfly Ischnura elegans. Choice experiments were conducted before and after an habituation period, during which males were exposed to only one female colour morph. Given the choice between the two female morphs, males did exhibit a choice for the most recently experienced female morph. This is the first evidence for a reversible switch in mate choice in a frequency-dependent way. In contrast with previous studies on mate choice, template formation in male I. elegans seems not to be based on quality. Switching mate choice in a frequency-dependent manner, choosing the most common morph, probably allows males to minimize their search efforts and to maximize fitness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk