The evolutionary consequences of mate copying on male traits
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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.
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