Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 59–64

Maintenance of female mimicry as a reproductive strategy in bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus)

  • Wallace J. Dominey

DOI: 10.1007/BF00001800

Cite this article as:
Dominey, W.J. Environ Biol Fish (1981) 6: 59. doi:10.1007/BF00001800


In species where male reproductive success is dependent on male competition and aggression, alternative reproductive patterns, thought to represent a reduction in male reproductive effort, sometimes occur. Female mimicry in bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) is an example of an obligate alternative male strategy. Female mimics are small, sexually mature males which mimic the details of female behavior, and gain access to functional females attracted to the nests of large, aggressive territorial males. The costs of female mimicry relative to nesting male behavior are discussed and two hypotheses, deception and mutual gain, are presented to explain the tolerance and ‘courtship’ of female mimics by nesting males.


BehaviorReproductionSexual selectionMating strategiesPseudofemaleColonialityCentrarchidae

Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v. Publishers 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wallace J. Dominey
    • 1
  1. 1.Field of Neurobiology and Behavior, Langmuir LaboratoryCornell UniversityIthacaU.S.A.