Sequential male mate choice in a fish, the Pacific blue-eyePseudomugil signifer

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Abstract

Mate choice is not just a female preoccupation. Under some circumstances, males may also be choosy. However, studies of male mate choice have generally been confined to situations where males can make direct comparisons between potential partners. In contrast, sequential male mate choice has largely been overlooked despite its biologically importance, especially if current investment in mate attraction diminishes a male's future mating opportunities. Using the Pacific blue-eye fish Pseudomugil signifer, we show that males are capable of exercising sequential mate choice. When presented sequentially with large and small females, males spent more effort courting the former. However, males did not appear to modify the time spent courting a given female based on the size of the female encountered previously. We suggest that greater attention to the sequential choice problem in males may help illuminate similarities and differences between the sexes when it comes to mating decisions.

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