Effects of temperature on mating behaviour and mating success: a meta-analysis

Natalie Pilakouta* (Corresponding Author), Anais Baillet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In light of global climate change, there is a pressing need to understand how populations will respond to rising temperatures. Understanding the effects of temperature changes on mating behaviour is particularly important, given its implications for population viability.
To this end, we performed a meta-analysis of 53 studies to examine how temperature changes influence mating latency, choosiness and mating success. We hypothesized that if higher temperatures make mate searching and mate assessment more costly due to an elevated metabolism, this may lead to a reduction in mating latency and choosiness, thereby increasing overall mating success.
We found no evidence for an overall effect of temperature on mating latency, choosiness, or mating success. There was an increase in mating success when animals were exposed to higher temperatures during mating trials but not when they were exposed before mating trials.
In addition, in a subset of studies that measured both mating latency and mating success, there was a strong negative relationship between the effect sizes for these traits. This suggests that a decrease in mating latency at higher temperatures was associated with an increase in mating success and vice versa.
In sum, our meta-analysis provides new insights into the effects of temperature on mating patterns. The absence of a consistent directional effect of temperature on mating behaviours and mating success suggests it may be difficult to predict changes in the strength of sexual selection in natural populations in a warming world. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that (a) higher temperatures during mating may lead to an increase in mating success and that (b) an increase in mating success is associated with a decrease in mating latency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Issue number8
Early online date10 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • choosiness
  • climate change
  • mate choice
  • mating latency
  • meta-analysis
  • sexual selection
  • thermal effects


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