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Proc Biol Sci. 2006 May 22;273(1591):1287-92.

Variation in preference for a male ornament is positively associated with female eyespan in the stalk-eyed fly Diasemopsis meigenii.

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  • 1The Galton Laboratory, Department of Biology, University College London, 4 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HE, UK.


There is currently much interest in mate preferences for sexual ornaments. However, few studies have focused on individual variation in mate preference despite its importance for the rate and direction of sexual selection. Females of the sexually dimorphic stalk-eyed fly, Diasemopsis meigenii, exhibit an unambiguous rejection response towards unattractive males bearing small ornaments. We investigated individual mate preferences using repeated sequential sampling of female rejection or acceptance responses to a wide range of male ornament phenotypes. We found significant variation in the strength of individual preference. In addition, preference was positively associated with female eyespan, a condition-dependent trait putatively linked to visual acuity.

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