Factors that affect non-independent mate choice


Mate choice is generally regarded as an independent event, but a growing body of evidence indicates that it can be influenced by social information provided by conspecifics. This is known as non-independent mate choice. Individuals use information gathered by observing interactions between conspecifics to copy or not copy the mate choice of these conspecifics. In this review, we examine the factors that affect non-independent mate choice and mate choice copying and how it is influenced by social and environmental information that is available to the subject or focal individual. Specifically, we discuss how non-independent mate choice and whether individuals copy the choices of conspecifics can be influenced by factors such as habitat and differences in ecology, mating system and parental care. We focus on the social information provided to the focal animal, the model and the audience. Nearly all studies of non-independent mate choice and mate copying have focused on individuals in species that use visual cues as the source of social information. Nevertheless, we highlight studies that indicate that individuals in some species may use chemical cues and signals as sources of social information that may affect non-independent mate choice and mate copying.

Publication Title

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society