Meeting Abstract

S4-10  Sunday, Jan. 5 14:00 - 14:30  Social Regulation of Hormones and the Implications for Female Mate Choice LYNCH, KS*; RYAN, MJ; Hofstra University; University of Texas at Austin

Classic studies by Lehrman and others have repeatedly demonstrated that hormonal condition can be regulated by social context and social cues. This social regulation of hormones or other neuromodulators allows males and females to coordinate the timing of reproductive behaviors. By attending to the sexual signals of their partners, males and females also orchestrate the timing of reproductive physiology. In a separate but related line of study, it is also well described that females choose mates based on what Darwin described as the females’ sexual aesthetic. In this case, the female selects males with spectacular songs, colors, or odors because these traits match perceptual biases in her sensory system. However, female perceptual biases can by modified by her physiological state. So, if physiological state can be modified by social context or reception of social cues, is it possible that simply sitting at a dawn or evening chorus and listening to singing males can modify the females’ physiology in such a way that ultimately influences who she will select among her male suitors? If so, this indicates that social regulation of hormonal state (or other physiological conditions) becomes a component of how female mate choice decisions occur. Here, we will describe a type of positive feedback loop in which courting males may enhance their chances of attaining a female response just by continuing to display. We describe how social regulation of the female hormones or other neuromodulators may be an additional component of mate choice via sensory exploitation. Overall, such a positive feedback system would indicate that timing is everything with respect to mate choice decisions. Therefore, in mating competitions, if at first a courting male does not succeed, he should try, try again.