Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 33–40

The evolutionary consequences of mate copying on male traits

  • Aneil F. Agrawal
Original Article


In some species, a female's mating preference can be influenced by the matings she observes. Mate copying occurs when a female alters her mating preference in favor of the type of males she has observed mating with other females. Here I present a model that explores the consequences of mate copying on the evolution of male traits. In contrast to previous work, I show that mate copying can have diverse evolutionary consequences. Mate copying can cause (positive or negative) directional selection on male traits or (positive or negative) frequency-dependent selection on male traits. The type of selection generated by mate copying depends on the details of how females are influenced by the matings that they observe. I discuss my results in relation to previous theoretical work that posits that mate copying can only hamper the spread of novel male traits.

Mate copying Sexual selection Gene-culture coevolution 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aneil F. Agrawal
    • 1
  1. 1.1001 E. 3rd Street, Department of Biology and Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-3700, USA

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