High frequency of mating without egg release in highly promiscuous nonparasitic lamprey Lethenteron kessleri
Nonparasitic lampreys are highly promiscuous: a single female can mate over several dozen times with multiple males. It remains unknown why females mate so frequently despite presumed costs from an elongated spawning period. This paper documents that female Siberian brook lampreys mate without egg release (termed “sham mating”) at remarkably high frequencies. Females mated 20–196 times during a breeding experiment, of which sham mating comprised 35–90%. The number of eggs released may be physically constrained in each mating by the lamprey’s elongated body and behavior. Female lampreys might also control egg release depending on surrounding males.