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Male pipefish prefer dominant over attractive females.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
2001 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology, ISSN 1045-2249, E-ISSN 1465-7279, Vol. 12, no 4, 402-406 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Animals may obtain information guiding their choice between potential partners from observing competitive interactions and displays between them, or from displays directed at the choosing individual. In the sex-role reversed pipefish Syngnathus typhle females display a temporary ornament (a color pattern) to other females as well as to males. We have previously shown that display of female ornaments per se is attractive to males. Here we show that information from competitive displays can override such direct attraction displays as signals in the partner choice process. In a mate choice experiment, an enclosed male could choose between two females. On the first experimental day, females could interact freely, while on the second day they were isolated from each other. When female-female competition was allowed, the ornament display was directed more to the other female than to the male: Time competing, rather than time courting the male, correlated with ornament display duration. However, ornament display under competition and ornament display in the absence of competition did not correlate significantly. In fact, females competing more intensively on day one displayed the ornament less on day two. Furthermore, the ornament display during the first, but not the second, day predicted male mate choice on the second day. Thus, males remembered previous information from competitive displays and used it rather than immediate information from displays in the absence of female-female competition. We suggest that competitive displays more reliably signal female quality as compared to noncompetitive ones, and that males benefit from mating with dominant females.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. Vol. 12, no 4, 402-406 p.
Keyword [en]
mate choice, mate competition, ornament, pipefish, sexual selection, signal honesty, Syngnathus typhle
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-41667OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-41667DiVA: diva2:69568
Available from: 2008-10-17 Created: 2008-10-17 Last updated: 2010-08-06Bibliographically approved

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