The mate choice of an individual can be socially influenced by having previously observed the choice of others. The extent to which a copied mating preference can be socially transmitted from individual to individual within a population is not known. We therefore ascertained experimentally the consecutive number of females whose mate preference can be influenced by an initial previous act of mate-choice copying in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). We show that an initial act of mate-choice copying affected the mating preferences of significantly more observer females, tested consecutively in a series, than control females which were not given any prior opportunity to observe the apparent mate choice of another (model) female. Our results suggest that the social effect of mate-choice copying is not restricted to the initial copier, but rather can subsequently affect the mating preferences of other females in the population at a frequency greater than expected by chance alone.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Copying, Cultural transmission, Guppy, Mate choice
Journal Ethology Ecology and Evolution
Dugatkin, L.A. (Lee A.), Lucas, J.S., & Godin, J.-G.J. (2002). Serial effects of mate-choice copying in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Ethology Ecology and Evolution, 14(1), 45–52.