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The impact of learning on sexual selection and speciation.

  • Machteld Verzijden
  • Carel Ten Cate
  • Maria R Servedio
  • Genevieve M Kozak
  • Jenny W Boughman
  • Erik Svensson
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 511-519
Publication/Series: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Volume: 27
Issue: 9
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Learning is widespread in nature, occurring in most animal taxa and in several different ecological contexts and, thus, might play a key role in evolutionary processes. Here, we review the accumulating empirical evidence for the involvement of learning in mate choice and the consequences for sexual selection and reproductive isolation. We distinguish two broad categories: learned mate preferences and learned traits under mate selection (such as bird song). We point out that the context of learning, namely how and when learning takes place, often makes a crucial difference to the predicted evolutionary outcome. Factors causing biases in learning and when one should expect the evolution of learning itself are also explored.


  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 1872-8383
E-mail: erik [dot] svensson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Evolutionary ecology

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Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
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