Articles

Evolution of mechanisms controlling mating behavior

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Science  10 Jan 1986:
Vol. 231, Issue 4734, pp. 121-125
DOI: 10.1126/science.3941893

Abstract

The proximate mechanisms underlying mating behavior in naturally occurring species can be fundamentally different from those in more commonly studied laboratory and domesticated forms. In naturally occurring species, reproductive strategies are much more diverse, and mechanisms controlling behavior are correspondingly diverse. A variety of hormonal, environmental, and social cues can be used to activate mating behavior. Which cues are used by particular species depends on differences in environmental and physiological constraints imposed by particular reproductive strategies. Study of this diversity of mechanisms promises to identify specific selective forces that have shaped their evolution. This evolutionary perspective leads to widely applicable generalizations and provides a useful context within which to conceptualize differences between species, populations, and individuals.