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Swordtail fish (Poeciliidae: genus Xiphophorus) are a paradigmatic case of sexual selection by sensory exploitation. Female preference for males with a conspicuous "sword" ornament is ancestral, suggesting that male morphology has evolved in response to a preexisting bias. The perceptual mechanisms underlying female mate choice have not been identified,(More)
Sexually dimorphic traits in many mate recognition systems have evolved in response to preexisting female biases. These biases are often quite general in form and are likely to be shared by predators, thereby imposing a cost on male trait expression. The Mexican tetra Astyanax mexicanus (Pisces: Characidae), a visual predator of swordtail fishes, exhibits(More)
Development consists of growth and differentiation, which can be partially decoupled and can be affected by environmental factors to different extents. In amphibians, variation in the larval environment influences development and causes changes in post-metamorphic shape. We examined post-metamorphic consequences, both morphological and locomotory, of(More)
Although our understanding of how animal personality affects fitness is incomplete, one general hypothesis is that personality traits (e.g. boldness and aggressiveness) contribute to competitive ability. If so, then under resource limitation, personality differences will generate variation in life history traits crucial to fitness, like growth. Here, we(More)
The dynamics of gene flow among populations ultimately depend on behavioural interactions among individuals (Ritchie, 2007), construed in the broadest sense to encompass chemical and mechanical interactions in plants and microorganisms. The mechanisms underlying mate choice can, therefore, determine whether hybridization promotes or retards speciation.(More)
How mating preferences evolve remains one of the major unsolved mysteries in evolutionary biology. One major impediment to the study of ornament-preference coevolution is that many aspects of the theoretical literature remain loosely connected to empirical data. Theoretical models typically streamline mating preferences by describing preference functions(More)
Although private communication is considered an important diversifying force in evolution, there is little direct behavioural evidence to support this notion. Here, we show that ultraviolet (UV) signalling in northern swordtails (Xiphophorus) affords a channel for communication that is not accessible to their major predator, Astyanax mexicanus, the Mexican(More)
Studies of mate choice evolution tend to focus on how female mating preferences are acquired and how they select for greater elaboration of male traits. By contrast, far less is known about how female preferences might be lost or reversed. In swordtail fish Xiphophorus, female preference for the sword ornament is an ancestral trait. Xiphophorus birchmanni,(More)
Mate choice is context dependent, but the importance of current context to interspecific mating and hybridization is largely unexplored. An important influence on mate choice is predation risk. We investigated how variation in an indirect cue of predation risk, distance to shelter, influences mate choice in the swordtail Xiphophorus birchmanni, a species(More)