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Fluctuating Dynamics of Mate Availability Promote the Evolution of Flexible Choosiness in Both Sexes

Abstract : The evolution of choosiness has a strong effect on sexual selection, as it promotes variance in mating success among individuals. The context in which choosiness is expressed, and therefore the associated gain and cost, is highly variable. An overlooked mechanism by current models is the rapid fluctuations in the availability and quality of partners, which generates a dynamic mating market to which each individual must optimally respond. We argue that the rapid fluctuations of the mating market are central to the evolution of optimal choosiness. Using a dynamic game approach, we investigate this hypothesis for various mating systems (characterized by different adult sex ratio and latency period combinations), allowing feedback between the choosiness and partner availability throughout a breeding season while taking into account the fine variation in individual quality. Our results indicate that quality-dependent and flexible choosiness usually evolve in both sexes for various mating systems and that a significant amount of variance in choosiness is observed, especially in males, even when courtship is costly. Accounting for the fluctuating dynamics of the mating market therefore allows envisioning a much wider range of choosiness variation in natural populations and may explain a number of recent empirical results regarding choosiness in the less common sex or its variance within sexes
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Louise Chevalier, Jacques Labonne, Matthias Galipaud, Francois-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmont. Fluctuating Dynamics of Mate Availability Promote the Evolution of Flexible Choosiness in Both Sexes. American Naturalist, University of Chicago Press, 2020, 196 (6), pp.730-742. ⟨10.1086/711417⟩. ⟨hal-03036294⟩



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