Data from: Mate sampling and choosiness in the sand goby



To date, mate choice studies have mostly focused on establishing which mates are chosen or how the choices are performed. Here, we combined these two approaches by empirically testing how latency to mate is affected by various search costs, variation in mate quality and female quality in the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus). Our results show that females adjust their mating behaviour according to the costs and benefits of the choice situation. Specifically, they mated sooner when access to males was delayed and when the presence of other females presented a mate sampling cost. We also found a positive link between size variation among potential mating partners and spawning delay in some (but not all) experimental conditions. By contrast, we did not find the number of available males or the females' own body size (‘quality’) to affect mating latency. Finally, female mating behaviour varied significantly between years. These findings are notable for demonstrating that (i) mate sampling time is particularly sensitive to costs and, to a lesser degree, to variation among mate candidates, (ii) females' mating behaviour is sensitive to qualitative rather than to quantitative variation in their environment, and (iii) a snapshot view may describe mate sampling behaviour unreliably.
Date made available26 Jun 2013
Geographical coverage23˚15.0´E

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