Non-random mating, particularly positive size-assortative mating, is common and can have major evolutionary consequences. The causes of size-assortative mating, however, are rarely examined. Here we explore the possibility of sexual selection, mate availability and mating constraints causing the strong correlation between male and female sizes in the fiddler crab Uca mjoebergi. We show that the full size range of males is available to females throughout the mating period, so mate availability is unlikely to cause size-assortative mating in this species. We also show that mechanical constraints do not prevent females from entering the burrows or mating with the full size range of males. We suggest that the strong size assortative mating that we observed throughout the mating cycle is driven by sexual selection. Both males and females prefer large partners. The benefit to mating with large partners needs further investigation.
Partitioning the effects of spatial isolation, nest habitat, and individual diet in causing assortative mating within a population of threespine stickleback. —