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Learning and mate choice
Witte, K. (2006). Learning and mate choice, in: Brown, C. et al. (Ed.) Fish cognition and behavior. Fish and Aquatic Resources Series, 11: pp. 70-95
In: Brown, C.; Laland, K.N.; Krause, J. (Ed.) (2006). Fish cognition and behavior. Fish and Aquatic Resources Series, 11. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford. ISBN 978-1-4051-3429-3. XVIII, 328 pp., more
In: Pitcher, T.J. (Ed.) Fish and Aquatic Resources Series. Blackwell Science: Oxford. ISSN 1746-2606, more

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    Aquaculture; Evolution; Genomes; Imprinting; Reproductive behaviour; Sexual maturity; Sexual selection; Sociological aspects; France, Aquitaine, Landes; Marine

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  • Witte, K.

    One of the most fascinating questions within the field of sexual selection is why and how females and males choose particular conspecifics as mates. Sexual selection theories provide different explanations for the origin and evolution of ornamental traits and mate preferences for such traits (overview in Andersson 1994; Jennions et al. 2001; Kokko et al. 2003). Genes for the ornamental trait and genes for the concomitant preference can co-evolve as a result of a genetic linkage between those genes as a result of the Fisherian runaway process (Fisher 1930; Lande 1981; Kirkpatrick 1982; Brooks 2000) or as a result of a selection for mates advertising 'good genes' (indicator models; Zahavi 1975; Moeller & Alatalo 1999). These models generally assume that mate preferences are genetically based (Bakker 1999). Forming mate preferences, however, is a complex process involving not only genetic factors but also non-genetic factors. Increasing evidence suggests that the social environment (Dugatkin 1996a; Westneat et al. 2000) and learning are important factors in forming mate preferences. The mate choice of conspecifics influences the mate choice decisions of an individual, who can alter mate preferences through learning processes. Social learning, and using public information (Danchin et al. 2004; and see Chapter 10) and other kinds of learning, therefore, significantly influence the process of sexual selection. Forms of social learning have now been recognized as meaningful mechanisms for the non-genetic inheritance (i.e. cultural transmission) of mate preferences, leading to cultural evolution of mate preferences. This chapter illustrates how learning is involved in the mate choices of fishes and emphasizes the important roles that different kinds of learning, particularly social learning, play in sexual selection. It focuses on four different kinds of learning: sexual imprinting; learning after reaching maturity; eavesdropping; and mate-choice copying.

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