Healthcare News

The Optimal Coyness Game

June 26, 2017

In many animal species, females will benefit if they can secure their mate's help in raising their young.

It has been suggested that females can achieve this by being coy (i.e., reluctant to mate) when courted, because this gives them time to assess a prospective mate's helpfulness, and hence allows them to reject non-helpful males.

Analysing this suggestion with a mathematical model, we characterise the conditions under which coyness can evolve. Critically, females only ever have an incentive to be coy if not all males are of the same type. Coyness is also favoured if alternative mates are easy to find.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Proceedings B is the Royal Society's flagship biological research journal, dedicated to the rapid publication and broad dissemination of high-quality research papers, reviews and comment and reply papers. The scope of journal is diverse and is especially strong in organismal biology.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences