ABS 2022
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Gene by environment interactions in variation in female mate preference in Xiphophorus multilineatus
Meredith Fitschen-Brown1,2, Molly Morris1,2. 1Ohio University, Athens, OH, United States; 2Ohio Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies, Athens, OH, United States

Variation in female mate preference can drive selection on male traits and maintain genetic variation, and yet the extent to which preferences can evolve requires a better understanding of the factors that produce this variation. Xiphophorus multilineatus, is a fish where the males exhibit alternative reproductive tactics. We preformed two experiments to examine the influence of a female’s genotype, growth rate, and social experience on variation in mate preference for courter vs sneaker males. First, we manipulated the composition of the female’s social environment (100% courter vs 100% sneaker) and her genotype in breeding mesocosms. Second, we tested different female genotypes before and after mating experience. We found that females with a sneaker genotype had a stronger preference for courter males than females with a courter genotype regardless of their experience. In addition, sneaker lineage females preference decreased as their growth rates increased, which was the opposite for courter lineage females. Given the growth rate/survival tradeoff detected in the males, we discuss the potential implications of these results in relation to selection on mating preferences.