, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 95-102

Correlates of male reproductive success in the browncheek blenny, Acanthemblemaria crockeri (Blennioidea: Chaenopsidae)

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Summary

Acanthemblemaria crockeri exhibits a resource defense polygyny mating system with male parental care. Females preferred to mate with the larger of two males in laboratory experiments, and male size was positively correlated with the number of eggs defended by males at two sites in the Gulf of California, Baja California, Mexico. Females appeared to avoid mating with males defending heavily-fouled shelters. The role of other factors including the intensity of male courtship coloration and displays in determining male reproductive success was studied in Bahia San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico by providing glass vials as shelters. This provided a non-destructive technique for counting of eggs defended by males and allowed repeated assessment of the reproductive success of individual males. Males varied greatly in their duration of residency of shelters and in their color score and intensity of courtship displays. The number of eggs received by males was positively correlated with their duration of residency in shelters, and females appeared to avoid mating with new residents. Mated males deserted shelters less frequently and were more likely to receive future matings than were unmated males. The mean color score of males was unrelated to their reproductive success, while the intensity of male courtship displays was negatively correlated with the number of eggs received. This may have resulted because female mate choice is based on multiple criteria, including some that more accurately reflect the quality of parental care afforded by males.