Choice of genetically unrelated mates is widely documented, yet it is not known how self-referential mate choice can co-occur with commonly observed directional selection on sexual displays. Across 10 breeding seasons in a wild bird population, we found strong fitness benefits of matings between genetically unrelated partners and show that self-referential choice of genetically unrelated mates alternates with sexual selection on elaborate plumage. Seasonal cycles of diminishing variation in ornamentation, caused by early pairing of the most elaborated males, and influx of increasingly genetically unrelated available mates caused by female-biased dispersal, lead to temporal fluctuations in the target of mate choice and enabled coexistence of directional selection for ornament elaboration with adaptive pairing of genetically unrelated partners.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Apr 2006|
- Extra-pair copulations
- Genetic relatedness
- Sexual ornamentation
- Sexual selection