Evidence of social effects on mate choice in vertebrates
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Study of determinants of mate selection by animals has a long history in evolutionary biology and behavioural ecology. However, only during the past decade have investigators begun to conduct experiments exploring the various ways in which observation of the behaviour of others might influence mate selection. Here, we review both field and laboratory studies of behavioural processes that underlie non-independence in mate choice, discussing both direct and indirect social influences on mate selection. We focus on laboratory studies in which guppies and Japanese quail, species that have received greatest attention from investigators, have served as subjects. Although much is now known about how public information can affect mate selection in controlled environments, there are still significant gaps in our knowledge of whether and how such information contributes to mate selections by members of free-living populations.
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