Letter | Published:

Mutual sexual selection in a monogamous seabird

Nature volume 362, pages 238239 (18 March 1993) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

DARWIN1 believed that elaborate ornamental traits expressed in both sexes might be favoured by mutual sexual selection driven by both female and male mate choice. Experimental studies on birds2–5 and fish6–9 have shown that male ornaments can be favoured by female mating preferences. But the concept of mutual mate choice has remained untested experimentally, although it has been supported by recent modelling10. Here we report the results of a study of mate preferences of the crested auklet Aethla cristatella, a monogamous seabird in which both sexes are ornamented. In two experiments we recorded the sexual response of male and female auklets to realistic opposite-sex models with crest ornaments experimentally shortened and lengthened within the range of natural variation. Males responded to accentuated female models with more frequent sexual displays, as did females to accentuated male models, confirming the idea that ornaments expressed in both sexes could be favoured by mutual mating preferences.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (Murray, London, 1871).

  2. 2.

    Nature 299, 818–820 (1982).

  3. 3.

    Nature 332, 640–642 (1988).

  4. 4.

    Anim. Behav. 40, 563–572 (1990).

  5. 5.

    Anim. Behav. 43, 379–388 (1992).

  6. 6.

    , & Behl Ecol. Sociobiol. 17, 253–256 (1985).

  7. 7.

    Anim. Behav. 40, 332–338 (1990).

  8. 8.

    & Nature 344, 330–332 (1990).

  9. 9.

    Science 248, 1405–1407 (1990).

  10. 10.

    , & Evolution 44, 180–193 (1990).

  11. 11.

    in Study of Colonial Seabirds of the USSR 9–13 (Academy of Sciences, Magadan, 1990).

  12. 12.

    & Behavl Ecol. Sociobiol. 30, 43–52 (1992).

  13. 13.

    Nature 339, 432 (1989).

  14. 14.

    & Nature 359, 487 (1992).

  15. 15.

    Anim. Behav. 39, 652–656 (1990).

  16. 16.

    & Behavl Ecol. 2, 249–257 (1991).

  17. 17.

    & Arctic 39, 109–118 (1984).

  18. 18.

    & Ptitsy SSSR: Chistikovyye [Birds of the USSR: AuKs (Alcidae)] (Nauka, Moscow, 1990).

  19. 19.

    in The Birds of North America (Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, in the press).

  20. 20.

    & J. theor. Biol. 117, 651–664 (1985).

  21. 21.

    Evolution 34, 292–305 (1980).

  22. 22.

    & J. Zool. 202, 461–488 (1984).

  23. 23.

    Wilson Bull. (in the press).

Download references

Author information

Author notes

    • Ian L. Jones

    Present address: Department of Biology, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Blvd, Vancouver, British Columbia V6K 1Z4, Canada

Affiliations

  1. Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK

    • Ian L. Jones
    •  & Fiona M. Hunter

Authors

  1. Search for Ian L. Jones in:

  2. Search for Fiona M. Hunter in:

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/362238a0

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.