Carotenoid availability affects the development of a colour-based mate preference and the sensory bias to which it is genetically linkedProceedings of the Royal Society B
AbstractRegardless of their origins, mate preferences should, in theory, be shaped by their benefits in a mating context. Here we show that the female preference for carotenoid colouration in guppies (Poecilia reticulata) exhibits a phenotypically plastic response to carotenoid availability, confirming a key prediction of sexual selection theory. Earlier work indicated that this mate preference is genetically linked to, and may be derived from, a sensory bias that occurs in both sexes: attraction to orange objects. The original function of this sensory bias is unknown, but it may help guppies find orange-coloured fruits in the rainforest streams of Trinidad. We show that the sensory bias also exhibits a phenotypically plastic response to carotenoid availability, but only in females. The sex-specificity of this reaction norm argues against the hypothesis that it evolved in a foraging context. We infer instead that the sensory bias has been modified as a correlated effect of selection on the mate preference. These results provide a new type of support for the hypothesis that mate preferences for sexual characters evolve in response to the benefits of mate choice—the alternatives being that such preferences evolve entirely in a non-mating context or in response to the costs of mating.
Copyright2005 The Royal Society.
Citation InformationGregory F. Grether, Gita R. Kolluru, F. Helen Rodd, Jennifer de la Cerda, et al.. "Carotenoid availability affects the development of a colour-based mate preference and the sensory bias to which it is genetically linked" Proceedings of the Royal Society B Vol. 272 Iss. 1577 (2005) p. 2181 - 2188
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gkolluru/3/