Many animals, from humans to invertebrates, exhibit sexual preference for unfamiliar partners. This may reduce the risk of inbreeding and increase offspring heterozygosity. An alternative less tested hypothesis is that selection for neophilia in other contexts (e.g. exploration of unfamiliar environments) may promote mate preference for unfamiliar partners. We tested whether exploratory tendency covaries with female preference for unfamiliar mates in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata, a species in which exploratory behaviour show significant phenotypic and genetic variation. We measured the exploratory behaviour of females using an unfamiliar environment test. The same females were also tested for preference for an unfamiliar male over a male with which they had spent the previous 24 h. We found that a female's tendency to explore an unfamiliar environment was positively correlated with the strength of her preference for unfamiliar males. Our results support the hypothesis that exploration might play a role in the evolution and maintenance of preference for unfamiliar males via functional pleiotropy.

Exploratory behaviour covaries with preference for unfamiliar males in female guppies

Lucon-Xiccato T.
;
2019

Abstract

Many animals, from humans to invertebrates, exhibit sexual preference for unfamiliar partners. This may reduce the risk of inbreeding and increase offspring heterozygosity. An alternative less tested hypothesis is that selection for neophilia in other contexts (e.g. exploration of unfamiliar environments) may promote mate preference for unfamiliar partners. We tested whether exploratory tendency covaries with female preference for unfamiliar mates in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata, a species in which exploratory behaviour show significant phenotypic and genetic variation. We measured the exploratory behaviour of females using an unfamiliar environment test. The same females were also tested for preference for an unfamiliar male over a male with which they had spent the previous 24 h. We found that a female's tendency to explore an unfamiliar environment was positively correlated with the strength of her preference for unfamiliar males. Our results support the hypothesis that exploration might play a role in the evolution and maintenance of preference for unfamiliar males via functional pleiotropy.
Lucon-Xiccato, T.; Bisazza, A.; Pilastro, A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2410120
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