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Sexual Arousal Increases Mate Selectivity in the Stickleback

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image of Behaviour

Individual threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) presented with a choice of two stimuli (dummies or video images) that simulate prospective mates show a preference but nevertheless allocate a substantial proportion of their courtship effort to the less preferred one. The evidence presented here reveals additionally that mating preferences of male and female stickleback are expressed more strongly as their overall courtship response increases. This suggests that a more sexually aroused fish attends more to cues relevant to mate choice and is more selective of mates than less aroused fish are. This effect is likely to be mediated by a central process and could have significant impact on mate choice and sexual selection, at least in situations where prospective mates are encountered simultaneously.


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