Mate choice strategies in a spatially-explicit model environment



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). In this model environment, female agents using the minimum-threshold strategy found higher quality mates and traveled shorter distances on average, compared with female agents using the best-of-n strategy. 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 for the best-of-n or minimum-threshold 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.


Attribute NameValues
  • Giordano B. S. Ferreira

  • Matthias Scheutz

  • Sunny K. Boyd

Journal or Work Title
  • PLoS ONE

  • 13

  • 8

Number of Pages
  • 25

Publication Date
  • 2018-08

Date Created
  • 2018-08-23

  • English

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Mate choice strategies in a spatially explicit model environment