Direct Benefits and the Evolution of Female Mating Preferences: Conceptual Problems, Potential Solutions, and a Field Cricket

  title={Direct Benefits and the Evolution of Female Mating Preferences: Conceptual Problems, Potential Solutions, and a Field Cricket},
  author={William E. Wagner},
  journal={Advances in The Study of Behavior},

Increased hatching success as a direct benefit of polyandry in birds

  • L. Reding
  • Biology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 2015
It is proposed that by mating with many males, females may increase their fertility, and a positive relationship between rates of EPP and hatching success in birds is shown.

When do opposites attract? A model uncovering the evolution of disassortative mating

It is shown that disassortative mating generates a negative frequency-dependent sexual selection, which in turn disadvantages heterozygotes at the cue locus, limiting the evolution of disassORTative preferences.

Plasticity in Female Mate Choosiness: A Result of Variation in Perceived Predation Risk and the Interaction of Female Age and Male Density

Results suggest females who have the highest reproductive potential are the most responsive to changes in environmental and internal factors, but also that these factors can either interact with or overshadow each other to influence female mate choosiness.

Back to the Basics of Mate Choice: The Evolutionary Importance of Darwin’s Sense of Beauty

There is a simple and general explanation for the evolution of mate choice that does not rely on benefits to be gained from favoring some potential mates over others, nor on ornament-preference

Tradeoffs limit the evolution of male traits that are attractive to females

There is a fundamental tradeoff between male traits that limits the ability of males to produce multiple attractive traits, limits how male traits evolve, and might favour plasticity in female mating preferences.

Size‐dependent mating pattern in a nuptial gift‐giving insect

The results showed that the frequency of within‐pair copulations was positively associated with the body size of both mated individuals with significant interaction between sexes, suggesting thatBody size of this nuptial gift‐giving insect species is an important sexual trait according to which both sexes choose their optimal mating partner.

Male-trait-specific variation in female mate preferences



Mate choice for indirect genetic benefits: scrutiny of the current paradigm

It is argued that the evidence for active mate choice for indirect benefits is not as compelling as the current paradigm suggests, and that the current emphasis on active mate choices has resulted in a distorted view of the nature of sexual selection.

Incidental Sanctions and the Evolution of Direct Benefits

It is argued that conditional female reproductive tactics may also favor reliable signaling of benefit quality, which may play an important role in determining whether females incur costs or receive benefits from their mates.

The strength of indirect selection on female mating preferences.

  • M. KirkpatrickN. Barton
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1997
A quantitative expression for the force of indirect selection that applies to any female mating behavior, is relatively insensitive to the underlying genetics, and is based on measurable quantities suggests that the evolutionary force generated by indirect selection on preferences is weak in absolute terms.

Costs and Benefits of Female Mate Choice: Is There a Lek Paradox?

It is argued that, although females are expected to pay lower costs in noneconomic mating systems, this need not translate into examining fewer males or spending less time in this activity, and there may be no lek paradox.


  • M. Kirkpatrick
  • Biology, Psychology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1982
The primary conclusion of the present paper is that the initial selective advantages for the female preference assumed by Fisher, O'Donald, and many later authors are not necessary for either the origin or subsequent elaboration of mating preferences for traits associated with reduced survivorship.


Mate choice is defined to include all instances where there is differential mating success in one sex due to preferences exhibited by the other sex, and includes preferences based on characters conferring genetic benefit to the young, on phenotypic characters conferting a more immediatebenefit to the chooser, or even on characters external to the chosen individual.

Directional Patterns of Female Mate Choice and the Role of Sensory Biases

It is suggested that studies of mate choice will benefit by a more integrative approach, especially one that combines knowledge of sensory mechanisms with appropriate phylogenetic comparisons, to distinguish among competing hypotheses for the evolution of female mating preferences.


It is concluded that sexual‐selection studies have paid far less attention to variation among females than to variations among males, and that there is still much to learn about how females choose males and why different females make different choices.

Sexual Selection and Condition-Dependent Mate Preferences

Sexual selection when the female directly benefits

Using a quantitative genetic model, it is shown how female preferences for male traits that indicate condition can evolve, even if the male traits themselves have deleterious effects on both the male and the female's fecundity.