Mate-choice copying: A fitness-enhancing behavior that evolves by indirect selection

Mauro Santos, Manuel Sapage, Margarida Matos, Susana A.M. Varela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 The Author(s). Evolution © 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution. A spatially explicit, individual-based simulation model is used to study the spread of an allele for mate-choice copying (MCC) through horizontal cultural transmission when female innate preferences do or do not coevolve with a male viability-increasing trait. Evolution of MCC is unlikely when innate female preferences coevolve with the trait, as copier females cannot express a higher preference than noncopier females for high-fitness males. However, if a genetic polymorphism for innate preference persists in the population, MCC can evolve by indirect selection through hitchhiking: the copying allele hitchhikes on the male trait. MCC can be an adaptive behavior—that is, a behavior that increases a population's average fitness relative to populations without MCC—even though the copying allele itself may be neutral or mildly deleterious.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1456-1464
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Indirect selection
  • individual-based simulations
  • mate-choice copying
  • sexual selection
  • social information


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