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Lipstick on the collar - A possible female preference through pheromonal marking

Buijtendijk, Matthijs (2018) Lipstick on the collar - A possible female preference through pheromonal marking. Research Project, Science Education and Communication.


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Decision making requires information to lower uncertainty, especially in fitness affecting decisions such as mate choice. In situations with low certainty, mate-choice copying provides a low cost strategy using public information. Mate-choice copying has been tested in Drosophila melanogaster using visual cues. However, female pheromones transferred onto males during mating. This ‘mark’ might act source of public information, producing a female preference towards males with sexual experience. These experiments tested for the existence of a preference, as well as the necessity and the sufficiency of these pheromones to produce a preference. Although no significant results were found in during testing, there are indications that these pheromones are able to affect the mate- choice decision. When present, the female pheromones induced a slight preference for experienced males. However, the absence of pheromones induced a similar but opposite preference. The lack of a ‘mark’ steered the female choice away from experienced males and towards naïve males. As the results were not significant, the role of transferred female pheromones remains unclear. More research is needed to establish if his pheromonal mark is capable of inducing a preference on its own or it is just a small source of information in a complex decision-making process.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Project)
Supervisor name: Billeter, J.C.
Degree programme: Science Education and Communication
Thesis type: Research Project
Language: English
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2018
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2018 10:14

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