Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Selection for relative brain size affects context-dependent male preferences, but not discrimination, of female body size in guppies

Citation

Corral-Lopez, Alberto; Kotrschal, Alexander; Kolm, Niclas (2018), Data from: Selection for relative brain size affects context-dependent male preferences, but not discrimination, of female body size in guppies, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8kv341d

Abstract

Understanding what drives animal decisions is fundamental in evolutionary biology, and mate choice decisions are arguably some of the most important decisions in any individual's life. As cognitive ability can impact decision-making, elucidating the link between mate choice and cognitive ability is necessary to fully understand mate choice. To experimentally study this link, we used guppies (Poecilia reticulata) artificially selected for divergence in relative brain size and with previously demonstrated differences in cognitive ability. A previous test in our female guppy selection lines demonstrated the impact of brain size and cognitive ability on information processing during female mate choice decisions. Here we evaluated the effect of brain size and cognitive ability on male mate choice decisions. Specifically, we investigated the preferences of large-brained, small-brained, and non-selected guppy males for female body size, a key indicator of female fecundity in this species. For this, male preferences were quantified in dichotomous choice tests when presented to dyads of females with small, medium and large body size differences. All types of males showed preference for larger females but no effect of brain size was found in the ability to discriminate between differently sized females. However, we found that non-selected and large-brained males, but not small-brained males, showed context-dependent preferences for larger females depending on the difference in female size. Our results have two important implications. First, they provide further evidence that male mate choice occurs also in a species in which secondary sexual ornamentation occurs only in males. Second, they show that brain size and cognitive ability have important effects on individual variation in mating preferences and sexually selected traits.

Usage Notes