Male limitation of female reproductive success in a pipefish : effects of body-size differences
1990 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 27, no 2, 129-133 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In the pipefish Syngnathus typhle, a species with exclusive male parental care, males limit female reproductive success because of their limited brood pouch space and long pregnancy. Sexual size dimorphism is absent in these 1-year-old animals but increases with age so that older females are larger than similarly aged males. Because fecundity is related to size in both sexes and increases more rapidly with body size in females than in males, the difference in growth increases female fecundity more, relative to male fecundity, as the fish get older. We therefore predicted that male limitation of female reproductive success is even more severe when all age classes are considered. To measure a female's maximum reproductive rate, she was provided with three males. Small 1-year-old females produced as many eggs, or produced eggs at the same rate, as a male of similar size could care for. Small females filled on average 1.06 males within the time span of one male pregnancy and actually produced on average 10 eggs fewer than needed to fill a similarly sized male. Large 2-year-old females, in contrast, produced on average a surplus of 149 eggs and filled 2.7 similarly sized males within the course of one pregnancy. The difference between females of the two size classes was highly significant. Males prefer to mate with larger females if given a choice. In nature sex ratios are equal, and males limit female reproductive success in the whole population. Therefore, small females are more severely constrained by mate availability than are larger females because males choose to mate with larger females.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1990. Vol. 27, no 2, 129-133 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-126437DOI: 10.1007/BF00168456ISI: A1990DT73300008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-126437DiVA: diva2:324070