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Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 8, pp 1681–1690 | Cite as

Multiple paternity and extra-group fertilizations in a natural population of California grunion (Leuresthes tenuis), a beach-spawning marine fish

  • Rosemary J. Byrne
  • John C. Avise
Original Paper

Abstract

Although individuals in many fish species move to shallow waters to spawn, the California grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) is almost unique in its constitutive display of synchronous full-emergence beach spawning. During a spawning event, fish ride large waves onshore to spawn on beach land, where their eggs incubate terrestrially. Here, we employ molecular markers to ascertain how this unusual reproductive behavior impacts genetic parentage. We developed and utilized four highly polymorphic microsatellite markers to assess maternal and paternal contributions in a total of 682 progeny from 17 nests of a natural population of L. tenuis. Alleles deduced to be of paternal origin in progeny were used to determine the minimum number of sires per nest and to estimate the true number of sires per nest via Bayesian analysis. We document the following: (a) no instances of multiple maternity for progeny within a nest; (b) a high frequency of nests (88%) with multiple paternity; and (c) an appreciable fraction of nests (18%) in which the estimated number of genetic sires (as many as nine) proved to be greater than the observed number of male attendants, thus implicating occasional extra-group fertilization events. From these and other observations, we also conclude that spawning behavior in grunions may involve site choice but not explicit mate choice. In addition to providing the first analysis of molecular parentage in a beach-spawning fish, we compare our findings to those reported previously for a beach-spawning arthropod, and we discuss the forces that may be maintaining this peculiar reproductive behavior.

Keywords

Beach Mate Choice Mating Behavior Sperm Competition Horseshoe Crab 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF Grant DGE-0638751) and the University of California, Irvine. Animals were collected with permission from the California Department of Fish and Game granted to R.J.B. with Scientific Collecting Permit ID Number SC-008834. We thank Felipe Barreto and Molly Burke for field assistance, and Felipe Barreto, Vimoksalehi Lukoschek, Andrey Tatarenkov, and two anonymous reviewers for thoughtful comments on the manuscript.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Open AccessThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

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