Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Assortative Mating

  • Alice BanielEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_288-1



Assortative mating is defined as a pattern of nonrandom mating, where there is a correlation (positive or negative) between male and female genotypes and/or phenotypes across mating pairs. Positive assortative mating (also called homogamy) implies a tendency to mate with genetically or phenotypically similar individuals. Conversely, negative assortative mating (also called heterogamy or disassortative mating) implies a tendency to mate with genotypically or phenotypically dissimilar traits. In the speciation literature, assortative mating is considered as a mechanism that drives reproductive isolation within a diverging population or between distinct species.


An important focus in the field of sexual selection over the past decade has been to understand how and why animals choose their mates. In some cases, mate choice has been found to...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Advanced Study in ToulouseToulouseFrance

Section editors and affiliations

  • Constance Dubuc
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK