, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 142-149

Predation environment predicts divergent life-history phenotypes among populations of the livebearing fish Brachyrhaphis rhabdophora

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Abstract.

We document a strong association between predation environment and life-history phenotypes in the Costa Rican livebearing fish Brachyrhaphis rhabdophora. Populations that co-occurred with piscine predators attained maturity at a smaller size, and produced more, smaller offspring relative to populations from predator-free environments. These differences persisted over 3 years and between wet and dry seasons within a year. Reproductive allotment did not differ between predation environments, but was greater in the wet season than in the dry season. We also examined the phenotypic covariance structure among life-history traits and found traits to be highly correlated. Based on life-history differences, discriminant analyses showed that populations could be neatly classified by predation category, and could be reasonably classified into wet and dry season categories. Finally, we found that the pattern of predator-associated life-history divergence in B. rhabdophora is remarkably similar to that of the taxonomically distinct Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata), possibly pointing to an evolutionary convergence between these two systems.