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Female courtship in the Banggai cardinalfish: honest signals of egg maturity and reproductive output?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5791-336X
2004 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 56, no 1, 59-64 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite the vast literature on male courtship behaviour, little is known about the function and information content of female courtship behaviour. Female courtship behaviour may be important in many species, particularly where both sexes invest heavily in the offspring, and if such behaviours contain honest information regarding a female’s potential reproductive investment, they may be particularly important in male mate choice. Using observations of two female courtship behaviours (the “rush” and the “twitch”) from experimental pairings in the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni), I addressed the question of whether these courtship behaviours contained information on female reproductive output (clutch weight) and egg maturity (proximity to spawning), traits commonly associated with male mate choice. I especially focused on the importance of these courtship behaviours in relation to other female characters, such as size and condition, using multiple regression. I found that one of these behaviours, the rush, was strongly associated with fecundity, whereas size, condition and the twitch were not. Further, I found that the “twitch” behaviour was associated with how close to actual spawning a female was. The results suggest that female courtship behaviour may convey highly important information in a mate choice context. I discuss the adaptive value of honest information in female courtship behaviour in light of these results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 56, no 1, 59-64 p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-90788DOI: 10.1007/s00265-003-0754-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-90788DiVA: diva2:163262
Available from: 2003-09-04 Created: 2003-09-04 Last updated: 2014-09-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Influence of Mate Quality on Reproductive Decisions in a Fish with Paternal Care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Influence of Mate Quality on Reproductive Decisions in a Fish with Paternal Care
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Female reproductive decisions have been suggested to be highly influenced by mate quality. I have studied whether offspring quality may be adjusted by females to match the attractiveness of males and how strong control females have over their reproductive investment focusing on egg size. This was done in the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni), a sex-role reversed obligate paternal mouthbrooder where males invest heavily into reproduction. As this species is suitable for both laboratory experiments and field studies it is an ideal candidate for the study of reproductive investment.

Mating was size-assortative and both males and females benefited from pairing with large partners. However, male size determined the reproductive output of a pair. Females courted large males more intensively and produced larger, but not fewer eggs when mated to large males as compared to small males. Further, this matching of egg size to mate attractiveness may be fast. Female courtship behaviours contained honest information regarding both clutch weight and egg maturity, traits that may be highly important for male mate choice. Surprisingly, males played an important part in territory defence suggesting relatively equal sex-roles in this species. Also, this species showed stable group structures which may be important for the evolution of female plasticity in reproductive investment due to high variance in quality of available mates.

This thesis suggest that females have a remarkable control over their reproductive investments and that male quality may be highly influential on reproductive decisions regarding offspring quality. Furthermore, it suggest that sexual selection may have strong effects on the evolution of egg size and parental care on a whole.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2003. 33 p.
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1104-232X ; 882
Ecology, sexual selection, differential allocation, evolution of egg size and parental care, Ekologi
National Category
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-3562 (URN)91-554-5723-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2003-09-26, Ekman salen, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2003-09-04 Created: 2003-09-04 Last updated: 2014-09-26Bibliographically approved

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