Odor-based mate choice copying in deer mice is not affected by familiarity or kinship

Anim Cogn. 2022 Apr;25(2):241-248. doi: 10.1007/s10071-021-01550-z. Epub 2021 Aug 16.


Individuals pay attention to the social and mate decisions of others and use these to determine their own choices, displaying mate choice copying. The present study with deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus, showed that females copied the odor preferences and appetitive components of the mate choice of other females. It was found that an association between male and female odors, which is indicative of the apparent interest expressed by a female in a male, enhanced the preference of another female for the odors of that male. This socially learned odor preference lasted for at least 24 h and extended to a preference for the actual male that was the odor source. Neither kinship nor prior familiarity with the female whose odor was presented had a significant influence on the degree of odor-based mate choice copying displayed. These findings show that female deer mice can engage in mate choice copying using the odor-based social interest and mate choice of other females.

Keywords: Mate copying; Olfactory communication; Social discrimination; Social information; Social learning.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior
  • Female
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Odorants*
  • Peromyscus*
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Reproduction