Mate choice strategies in a spatially explicit model environment



Mate choice strategies in a spatially-explicit model environment

Giordano B. S. Ferreira1, Matthias Scheutz1, and Sunny K. Boyd2 1Department of Computer Science, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA and 2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA (Corresponding author; phone: 574-631-5021; fax: 574-631-7413)

Keywords: mate choice, decision-making, agent-based modeling, frog, Hyla versicolor


Decisions about the choice of a mate can greatly impact both individual fitness and selection processes. We developed a novel agent-based model to investigate two common mate-choice rules that may be used by female gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor). The minimum-threshold strategy performed better than the best-of-n strategy in this model environment, leading to female agents finding better quality mates and traveling shorter distances when making decisions using the minimum-threshold rule. Females using the minimum-threshold strategy, however, incur significant lost opportunity costs, depending on the male population quality average. The best-of-n strategy leads to significant female:female competition that limits their ability to find high quality mates. Thus, when the sex ratio is 0.8, best-of-5 and best-of-2 strategies yield mates of nearly identical quality. Although the distance traveled by females in the mating task varied depending on male spatial distribution in the environment, this did not interact with female choice strategies. By incorporating empirical data from the frogs in this temporally- and spatially-explicit model, we thus show the emergence of novel interactions of common decision-making rules with realistic environmental variables.

Characteristics of Database:

This is a CSV database containing the results of parameter sweeps with the model described above. It contains 13 columns and 48,001 rows (1 header row plus 48,000 rows of data).

Descriptions of Column Headings:

Replicate = the number of the particular simulation run

Strategy = female mate choice strategy; may be BestOfN, MinThresh, or Random

Parameter = the particular setting for a strategy parameter; the n in the BestOfN strategy or the threshold theta in the MinThresh strategy; the Random strategy has no additional parameter values

NumFemales = number of female agents in the simulation; varied from 5 to 20 in increments of 5

MalePulses = the mean of the normally distributed population of pulse numbers from which the individual male agent pulse numbers are drawn

MaleDistribution = the type of spatial distribution of male agents used in the particular simulation run; may be random, Gaussian, or inverse Gaussian

NumMated = the number of female agents that mate before the end of the simulation run

AvgMatedPulsesPerCall = the average number of pulses per call across all male agents that mated

AvgMateTime = the average time to mating for female agents that mate (search time for those that do not mate is not included)

AvgDistanceTraveled = the averate distance traveled by all female agents in the simulation, including those that mate and those that do not

AvgFemalesSwitches = the average number of times each female agent switched from one target male to another

AvgPulseNumber = the average number of pulses per call across all male agents in the simulation, including those that mate and those that do not

LastCycle = the time step at which the simulation run came to an end


Attribute NameValues
  • Sunny Boyd

  • Sunny Boyd

  • None

  • English

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Work Title
Mate choice strategies in a spatially-explicit model environment