Emerging evidence suggests the occurrence of comparative decision-making processes in mate choice, questioning the traditional idea of female choice based on rules of absolute preference. In such a scenario, females are expected to use a typical best-of-n sampling strategy, being able to recall previous sampled males based on memory of their quality and location. Accordingly, the quality of preferred mate is expected to be unrelated to both the number and the sequence of female visits. We found support for these predictions in the peacock blenny, Salaria pavo, a fish where females have the opportunity to evaluate the attractiveness of many males in a short time period and in a restricted spatial range. Indeed, even considering the variability in preference among females, most of them returned to previous sampled males for further evaluations; thus, the preferred male did not represent the last one in the sequence of visited males. Moreover, there was no relationship between the attractiveness of the preferred male and the number of further visits assigned to the other males. Our results suggest the occurrence of a best-of-n mate sampling strategy in the peacock blenny.
Naturwissenschaften – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 29, 2017
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