Mate preference for multiple cues: Interplay between male and nest size in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus

Topi K. Lehtonen, Simo Rintakoski, Kai Lindström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Female mating preferences are often based on more than one cue. In empirical studies, however, different mate choice cues are typically treated separately ignoring their possible interactions. In the current work, we studied how male body size and size of the male's nest jointly affect mate preferences of female sand gobies, Pomatoschistus minutus. The females were given a binary choice between males that differed either in body size or size of their nest or both. We found that neither body size nor size of the nest alone affected male attractiveness, but together these 2 cues had a significant effect. Specifically, large males were more popular among females when they had a large nest than when they occupied a small nest. The results suggest that if interaction effects between multiple mate choice cues are not considered, there is a danger of ignoring or underestimating the importance of these cues in sexual selection by female choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-700
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Mate choice
  • Multiple cues
  • Nest size
  • Pomatoschistus minutus
  • Sexual selection

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