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Possible decision-making preadaptations in the molly Poecilia sphenops

TitlePossible decision-making preadaptations in the molly Poecilia sphenops
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsGould J.L, Zabka TS, Malizia RW, Park A, Mukerji J
Pagination - 95
Date Published1999/06/01
ISBN Number1435-9448

In many species females choose a mate from among several available males; in other species, the social system provides no apparent opportunity for making a decision among alternative suitors, and decision-making capacity is assumed to be minimal. The origins, bases, and logic of female mate choices are contentious questions with important cognitive implications. Female short-finned mollies, Poecilia sphenops, have never been observed to choose mates in the wild, where instead a male-contest social system prevails. Nevertheless they readily choose between models of males in the laboratory. Some of their decisions anticipate features found in males in more recently evolved species where the social system permits female choice. The willingness of females to choose traits in a species without such traits or evident need or opportunity for female choice in the wild is remarkable. These observations suggest that choice behavior can be latent in a species, and may direct or bias the development of behavioral preferences.

Short TitleAnimal Cognition
Fields of interest: