Shared Preferences by Predators and Females for Male Ornaments in Swordtails




Rosenthal, Gil G.
Flores Martinez, Tania Y.
Garcia de Leon, Francisco J.
Ryan, Michael J.

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University of Chicago Press for The American Society of Naturalists


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 the same visual preferences for male body size morphs as do females. Furthermore, tetras in populations where swordtails are absent prefer males with sword ornaments over males with swords removed. The predator preference is thus likely to have arisen prior to contact with fishes beating the ornaments, as has also been suggested for mating preferences for swords.


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