Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 266–276 | Cite as

Seasonality of reproduction by liverbearing fishes in tropical rainforest streams

  • Kirk O. Winemiller
Original Papers

Abstract

Reproductive ecology, population structure, and diets of three common livebearing poeciliid fishes (Alfaro cultratus, Phallichthys amates, Poecilia gilli) from rainforest streams in Costa Rica were investigated over ten continuous months. The region experiences little annual temperature variation, and although monthly rainfall is continuous each year, two brief dry seasons typically occur. Monthly changes in indices of ovarian condition, percentages of females with developing embryos, and population size structure revealed that reproductive output by females of all three species varied seasonally. Based on testicular condition, males were reproductively active year-round, however the mean gonadal index for males of two algivorous species showed low levels of seasonal cycling that largely coincided with female variation in reproductive effort. All three species had seasonal differences in the female size-brood size relationship, whereby larger females tended to carry more embryos during the wet season. Several important adult and neonate food resources are more available in the flooded forest during the wet season, which is also the period when conspecifics and predators are at their lowest per-area densities. Three hypotheses are discussed: (1) brood size in relation to conspecific density-mating frequency, (2) reproductive allocation in response to variation in adult food resources, and (3) selection for greater reproductive effort during conditions optimal for juvenile growth and survival. Data for Alfaro were consistent with the latter two hypotheses. In Phallichthys and Poecilia, diets were poorer during wet seasons, indicating that reproductive effort does not coincide with availability of adult food resources, and that selection probably favors greater reproductive effort during periods optimal for juvenile growth and survival.

Key words

Costa Rica Poeciliid fishes Reproductive seasonality 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andersson M (1986) Geographic variation and aspects of the life history of Belonesox belizanus Kner (Pisces: Poeciliidae) from Central America. M.S. Thesis, Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, IL, USAGoogle Scholar
  2. Balsano JS, Kucharski K, Randle EJ, Rasch EM, Monaco PJ (1981) Reduction of competition between bisexual and unisexual females of Poecilia in northeastern Mexico. Env Biol Fish 6: 39–48Google Scholar
  3. Borowsky RL, Kallman KD (1976) Patterns of mating in natural populations of Xiphophorus (Pisces: Poeciliidae). I. X. maculatus from Belize and Mexico. Evolution 30: 693–706Google Scholar
  4. Botsford LW, Vondracek B, Wainwright TC, Linden AL, Kope RG, Reed DE, Cech JJ Jr (1987) Population development of the mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, in rice fields. Env Biol Fish 20: 143–154Google Scholar
  5. Burns JR (1985) The effect of low-latitude photoperiods on the reproduction of female and male Poeciliopsis gracilis and Poecilia sphenops. Copeia 1985: 961–965Google Scholar
  6. Burt A, Kramer DL, Nakatsuru K, Spry C (1988) The tempo of reproduction in Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis (Characidae), with a discussion on the biology of “multiple spawning” in fishes. Env Biol Fish 22: 15–27Google Scholar
  7. Chapman LJ, Kramer DL (1991) The consequences of flooding for the dispersal and fate of poeciliid fish in an intermittent tropical stream. Oecologia 87: 299–306Google Scholar
  8. Constantz GD (1979) Life history patterns of a livebearing fish in contrasting environments. Oecologia 40: 189–201Google Scholar
  9. Constantz GD (1989) Reproductive biology of poeciliid fishes. In: Meffe GK, Snelson FF Jr (eds) Ecology and evolution of livebearing fishes (Poeciliidae). Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, pp 33–50Google Scholar
  10. Dahlgren BT (1979) The effects of population density on fecundity and fertility in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata (Peters). J Fish Biol 15: 71–91Google Scholar
  11. Endler JA (1980) Natural selection on color patterns in Poecilia reticulata. Evolution 34: 76–91Google Scholar
  12. Endler JA (1982) Convergent and divergent effects of natural selection on color patterns in two fish faunas. Evolution 36: 178–188Google Scholar
  13. Farr JA (1975) The role of predation in the evolution of social behavior of natural populations of the guppy, Poecilia reticulata (Pisces: Poeciliidae). Evolution 29: 151–158Google Scholar
  14. Gotelli NJ, Pyron M (1991) Life history variation in North American freshwater minnows: effects of latitude and phylogeny. Oikos 62: 30–40Google Scholar
  15. Heins DC, Rabito FG,Jr (1986) Spawning performance in North American minnows: direct evidence of the occurrence of multiple clutches in the genus Notropis. J Fish Biol 28: 343–357Google Scholar
  16. Hester FJ (1964) Effects of food supply on fecundity in the female guppy, Lebistes reticulata (Peters). J Fish Res Bd. Canada 21: 757–764Google Scholar
  17. Hirth HF (1963) The ecology of two lizards on a tropical beach. Ecol Monogr 33: 83–112Google Scholar
  18. Hubbs C (1982) Life history dynamics of Menidia beryllina from Lake Texoma. Am Midl Nat 107: 1–12Google Scholar
  19. Hubbs C (1985) Darter reproductive seasons. Copeia 1985: 56–68Google Scholar
  20. Hubbs C, Strawn K (1957) The effects of light and temperature on the fecundity of the greenthroat darter. Ecology 38: 596–602Google Scholar
  21. Hughes AL (1985) Seasonal changes in fecundity and size at first reproduction in an Indiana population of the mosquitofish Gambusia affinis. Am Midl Nat 114: 30–36Google Scholar
  22. Hughes AL (1986) Growth of adult mosquitofish Gambusia affinis in the laboratory. Copeia 1986: 534–536Google Scholar
  23. Janzen DH (1967) Synchronization of sexual reproduction of trees with the dry season in Central America. Evolution 21: 620–637Google Scholar
  24. Janzen DH (1979) Natural history of Phelypera distigma (Boheman), Curculionidae, a Costa Rican defoliator of Guazuma ulmifolia Lam. (Sterculiaceae). Brenesia 16: 213–219Google Scholar
  25. Johannes RE (1978) Reproductive strategies of coastal marine fishes in the tropics. Env Biol Fish 3: 65–84Google Scholar
  26. Kallman KD (1984) A new look at sex determination in poeciliid fishes. In: BJ Turner (ed) Evolutionary genetics of fishes. Plenum, New York, pp 95–171Google Scholar
  27. Kramer DL (1978) Reproductive seasonality in the fishes of a tropical stream. Ecology 59: 976–985Google Scholar
  28. Lowe-McConnell RH (1964) The fishes of the Rupununi savana district of British Guiana. I. Groupings of fish species and effects of the seasonal cycles on the fish. J Linn Soc (Zool) 45: 103–144Google Scholar
  29. Lowe-McConnell RH (1979) Ecological aspects of seasonality in fishes of tropical waters. Symp Zool Soc Lond 44: 219–241Google Scholar
  30. Mahon R (1984) Divergent structure in fish taxocenes of north temperate streams. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 41: 330–350Google Scholar
  31. Meffe GK (1985) Life history patterns of Gambusia marshi (Poeciliidae) from Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico. Copeia 1985: 898–905Google Scholar
  32. Meffe GK (1990) Offspring size variation in eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki: Poeciliidae) from contrasting thermal environments. Copeia 1990: 10–18Google Scholar
  33. Miller TJ, Crowder LB, Rice JA, Marschall EA (1988) Larval size and recruitment mechanisms in fishes: toward a conceptual framework. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 45: 1657–1670Google Scholar
  34. Morris MR, Ryan MJ (1992) Breeding cycles in natural populations of Xiphophorus nigrensis, X. multilineatus, and X. pygmaeus. Copeia 1992: 1074–1077Google Scholar
  35. Power ME (1984) The importance of sediment in the grazing ecology and size class interactions of an armored catfish, Ancistrus spinosus. Env Biol Fish 10: 173–181Google Scholar
  36. Reznick DN (1981) “Grandfather effects”: the genetics of interpopulation differences in offspring size in the mosquito fish. Evolution 35: 941–953Google Scholar
  37. Reznick DN (1982) The impact of predation on life history evolution in Trinidadian guppies: the genetic basis of observed life history patterns. Evolution 36: 1236–1250Google Scholar
  38. Reznick DN (1983) The structure of guppy life histories: the tradeoff between growth and reproduction. Ecology 64: 862–873Google Scholar
  39. Reznick DN (1989) Life-history evolution in guppies: 2. Repeatability of field observations and the effects of season on life histories. Evolution 43: 1285–1297Google Scholar
  40. Reznick DN, Braun B (1987) Fat cycling in the mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis): fat storage as a reproductive adaptation. Oecologia 73: 401–413Google Scholar
  41. Reznick DN, Miles DB (1989) A review of life history patterns in poeciliid fishes. In: Meffe GK, Snelson FF,Jr (eds) Ecology and evolution of livebearing fishes (Poeciliidae). Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, pp 125–148Google Scholar
  42. Ridley M (1988) Mating frequency and fecundity in insects. Biol Rev Comp Philos Soc 63: 509–549Google Scholar
  43. Schoenherr AA (1977) Density-dependent and density-independent regulation of reproduction in the Gila Topminnow, Poeciliopsis occidentalis (Baird and Girard). Ecology 58: 438–444Google Scholar
  44. Schwassman HO (1978) Times of annual spawning and reproductive strategies in Amazonian fishes. In: Thorpe, JE (ed) Rhythmic activity of Fishes. Academic Press, London, pp 187–200Google Scholar
  45. Snelson FF,Jr (1984) Seasonal maturation and growth of males in a natural population of Poecilia latipinna. Copeia 1984: 252–255Google Scholar
  46. Snelson FF,Jr (1985) Size and morphological variation in males of the sailfin molly, Poecilia latipinna. Env Biol Fish 13: 35–47Google Scholar
  47. Stearns SC (1983) A natural experiment in life-history evolution: field data on the introduction of mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to Hawaii. Evolution 37: 601–617Google Scholar
  48. Thibault RE, Schultz RJ (1978) Reproductive adaptations among viviparous fishes (Cyprinodontiformes: Poeciliidae). Evolution 32: 320–333Google Scholar
  49. Travis J, Farr JA, McManus M, Trexler JC (1989) Environmental effects on adult growth patterns in the male sailfin molly, Poecilia latipinna (Poeciliidae). Env Biol Fish 26: 119–127Google Scholar
  50. Turner C (1938) The reproductive cycle of Brachyrhaphis episcopi, an ovoviviparous poeciliid fish in the natural tropical habitat. Biol Bull 75: 56–65Google Scholar
  51. Warren EW (1973) Modification of the response to high density conditions in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata (Peters). J Fish Biol 5: 737–752Google Scholar
  52. Welcomme RL (1979) The fisheries ecology of floodplain rivers. Longman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  53. Winemiller KO (1989) Patterns of variation in life history among South American fishes in seasonal environments. Oecologia 81: 225–241Google Scholar
  54. Winemiller KO (1990) Spatial and temporal variation in tropical fish trophic networks. Ecol Monogr 60: 331–367Google Scholar
  55. Winemiller KO, Leslie MA (1992) Fish communities across a complex freshwatermarine ecotone. Env Biol Fish 34: 29–50Google Scholar
  56. Wootton RJ (1984) Introduction: strategies and tactics in fish reproduction. In: Potts WG, Wootton RJ (eds) Fish reproduction: strategies and tactics. Academic Press, London, New York, pp 1–12Google Scholar
  57. Yan HY (1987) Size at maturity in male Gambusia heterochir. J Fish Biol 30: 731–741Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirk O. Winemiller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

Personalised recommendations