Oecologia

, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 611–621 | Cite as

Size-dependent use of territorial space by a rock-dwelling cichlid fish

Behavioral Ecology

Abstract

Territoriality fundamentally influences animal mating systems and patterns of population structure. Although territory ownership is already known to contribute importantly to male reproductive success and the ecological coexistence of African rock-dwelling cichlids, the significance of variation in territory features has received little attention in these fishes. In Lake Malawi, males of Pseudotropheus tropheops “orange chest” defend territories on either of two substrate classes at Harbour Island: flat rock slabs lacking crevices and caves, or structurally complex boulder fields containing cave shelters. Focal watches of this species demonstrated that both territory size and occupancy on either substrate type depend on the size of male residents. Males larger than a threshold size exclusively held the largest and most structurally complex territories. After removal of conspecific residents, more vacant territorial areas on cave-containing substrate were reoccupied by “orange chest” males in full breeding coloration compared to vacant areas on flat substrate. These findings suggest competition among “orange chest” males for complex rocky substrate. Defense of caves was associated with enhanced male courtship rates: the number of caves within a male’s territory was a better predictor of courtship activity than was male size or territory area. In addition to territories being crucial for male reproductive success and therefore likely playing a role in sexual selection, male–male competition for caves in rock-dwelling cichlids may be promoted by the ecological advantage of enemy-free space. Smaller “orange chest” males lacking caves tended to move into adjacent boulder fields in the presence of predators, particularly at night. In contrast, males defending caves were more likely to remain on their territories when nocturnal predators were present. The territorial behaviors of P. tropheops “orange chest” that we observed in situ provide an instructive natural framework for testing the roles of substrate and ecology in the mating systems of rock-dwelling cichlid fishes.

Keywords

Male–male competition Substrate quality Resource holding potential Habitat shift Natural history 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank P. Danley, T. Kocher, T. Mendelson, and J. Stauffer Jr., for the assistance and advice they provided us in the field. A. Ambali and H. Kabwazi kindly helped us with additional logistical support and encouragement in Malawi. We are also grateful for comments offered by A. Cooperman, G. Fryer, M. Haesler, A. Konings, K. Marchinko, K. McKaye, S. Santini, U. Stolz, C. Tepolt, and P. Wrege. Their feedback improved our analysis and clarified our writing. This research was made possible by funds from the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation (to JAM), and by an Ambassadorial Scholarship from Rotary International (to MEA). All methods comply with regulations governing research on fishes in Malawi.

References

  1. Adams ES (2001) Approaches to the study of territory size and shape. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 32:277–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson M (1994) Sexual selection. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnegard ME, Carlson BA (2005) Electric organ discharge patterns during group hunting by a mormyrid fish. Proc R Soc B 272:1305–1314PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arnegard ME, Kondrashov AS (2004) Sympatric speciation by sexual selection alone is unlikely. Evolution 58:222–237PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnegard ME, Markert JA, Danley PD, Stauffer JR Jr, Ambali AJ, Kocher TD (1999) Population structure and colour variation of the cichlid fish Labeotropheus fuelleborni Ahl along a recently formed archipelago of rocky habitat patches in southern Lake Malawi. Proc R Soc Lond B 266:119–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baerends GP, Baerends-van Roon JM (1950) An introduction to the study of the ethology of cichlid fishes. Behav Suppl 1:1–235Google Scholar
  7. Benjamini Y, Hochberg Y (1995) Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. J R Stat Soc B 57:289–300Google Scholar
  8. Calsbeek R, Sinervo B (2002a) An experimental test of the ideal despotic distribution. J Anim Ecol 71:513–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Calsbeek R, Sinervo B (2002b) The ontogeny of territoriality during maturation. Oecologia 132:468–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Couldridge VCK, Alexander GJ (2002) Color patterns and species recognition in four closely related species of Lake Malawi cichlid. Behav Ecol 13:59–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dijkstra PD, Seehausen O, Groothuis TGG (2005) Direct male–male competition can facilitate invasion of new colour types in Lake Victoria cichlids. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 58:136–143Google Scholar
  12. Duftner N, Sefc KM, Koblmüller S, Nevado B, Verheyen E, Phiri H, Sturmbauer C (2006) Distinct population structure in a phenotypically homogeneous rock-dwelling cichlid fish from Lake Tanganyika. Mol Ecol 15:2381–2395PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Egger B, Meekan M, Salzburger W, Mwape L, Makasa L, Shapola R, Sturmbauer C (2004) Validation of the periodicity of increment formation in the otoliths of a cichlid fish from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa. J Fish Biol 64:1272–1284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Emlen ST, Oring LW (1977) Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of animal mating systems. Science 197:215–223PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fricke HW (1986) Pair swimming and mutual partner guarding in monogamous butterflyfish (Pisces, Chaetodontidae): a joint advertisement for territory. Ethology 73:307–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fryer G (1959) The trophic interrelationships and ecology of some littoral communities of Lake Nyasa with especial reference to the fishes, and a discussion of the evolution of a group of rock-frequenting Cichlidae. Proc Zool Soc Lond 132:153–281Google Scholar
  17. García LV (2004) Escaping the Bonferroni iron claw in ecological studies. Oikos 105:657–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Genner MJ, Turner GF (2005) The mbuna cichlids of Lake Malawi: a model for rapid speciation and adaptive radiation. Fish Fish 6:1–34Google Scholar
  19. Genner MJ, Turner GF, Hawkins SJ (1999) Resource control by territorial male cichlid fish in Lake Malawi. J Anim Ecol 68:522–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hert E (1990) Factors in habitat partitioning in Pseudotropheus aurora (Pisces: Cichlidae), an introduced species to a species-rich community of Lake Malawi. J Fish Biol 36:853–865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hert E (1992) Homing and home-site fidelity in rock-dwelling cichlids (Pisces: Teleostei) of Lake Malawi, Africa. Environ Biol Fish 33:229–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hert E (1995) The impact of intralacustrine introductions with regard to space utilization and competition for territories to a cichlid fish community in Lake Malawi, Africa. Ecol Res 10:117–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hofmann HA, Benson ME, Fernald RD (1999) Social status regulates growth rate: consequences for life-history strategies. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 96:14171–14176PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Holzberg S (1978) A field and laboratory study of the behaviour and ecology of Pseudotropheus zebra (Boulenger), an endemic cichlid of Lake Malawi (Pisces; Cichlidae). Z Zool Syst Evolut-forsch 16:171–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jeffries MJ, Lawton JH (1984) Enemy free space and the structure of ecological communities. Biol J Linn Soc 23:269–286Google Scholar
  26. Johnsson JI, Carlsson M, Sundström LF (2000) Habitat preference increases territorial defense in brown trout (Salmo trutta). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 48:373–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Karino K (1996) Tactic for bower acquisition by male cichlids, Cyathopharynx furcifer, in Lake Tanganyika. Ichthyol Res 43:125–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Knight ME, Turner GF (1999) Reproductive isolation among closely related Lake Malawi cichlids: can males recognize conspecific females by visual cues? Anim Behav 58:761–768PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kohda M (1991) Intra- and interspecific social organization among three herbivorous cichlid fishes in Lake Tanganyika. Jpn J Ichthyol 38:147–163Google Scholar
  30. Kohda M (1998) Coexistence of permanently territorial cichlids of the genus Petrochromis through male-mating attack. Environ Biol Fish 52:231–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Konings A (2001) Malawi cichlids in their natural habitat, 3rd edn. Cichlid Press, El Paso, TXGoogle Scholar
  32. Leimar O, Austad S, Enquist M (1991) A test of the sequential assessment game: fighting in the bowl and doily spider Frontinella pyramitela. Evolution 45:862–874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lindström K, Pampoulie C (2005) Effects of resource holding potential and resource value on tenure at nest sites in sand gobies. Behav Ecol 16:70–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. López-Sepulcre A, Kokko H (2005) Territorial defense, territory size, and population regulation. Am Nat 166:317–329PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maan ME, Seehausen O, Söderberg L, Johnson L, Ripmeester EAP, Mrosso HDJ, Taylor MI, van Dooren TJM, van Alphen JJM (2004) Intraspecific sexual selection on a speciation trait, male coloration, in the Lake Victoria cichlid Pundamilia nyererei. Proc R Soc Lond B 271:2445–2452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Markert JA, Danley PD, Arnegard ME (2001) New markers for new species: microsatellite loci and the East African cichlids. Trends Ecol Evol 16:100–107PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Marsh AC, Ribbink AJ (1985) Feeding site utilisation in three sympatric species of Petrotilapia (Pisces, Cichlidae) from Lake Malawi. Biol J Linn Soc 25:331–338Google Scholar
  38. Marsh BA, Marsh AC, Ribbink AJ (1986) Reproductive seasonality in a group of rock-frequenting cichlid fishes in Lake Malawi. J Zool Lond (A) 209:9–20Google Scholar
  39. McDougall PT, Kramer DL (2007) Short-term behavioral consequences of territory relocation in a Caribbean damselfish, Stegastes diencaeus. Behav Ecol 18:53–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McKaye KR (1983) Ecology and breeding behavior of a cichlid fish, Cyrtocara eucinostomus, on a large lek in Lake Malawi, Africa. Environ Biol Fish 8:81–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McKaye KR (1984) Behavioural aspects of cichlid reproductive strategies: patterns of territoriality and brood defence in Central American substratum spawners versus African mouth brooders. In: Potts CW, Wootton RG (eds) Fish reproduction: strategies and tactics. Academic, London, pp 245–273Google Scholar
  42. McKaye KR, Louda SM, Stauffer JR Jr (1990) Bower size and male reproductive success in a cichlid fish lek. Am Nat 135:597–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Meadows DW (2001) Centre-edge differences in behaviour, territory size and fitness in clusters of territorial damselfish: patterns, causes, and consequences. Behaviour 138:1085–1116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mikami OK, Kohda M, Kawata M (2004) A new hypothesis for species coexistence: male–male repulsion promotes coexistence of competing species. Popul Ecol 46:213–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Munthali SM (1996) Territoriality and nutritional condition in Cynotilapia afra (Günther) and Pseudotropheus zebra (Boulenger), Cichlidae in Lake Malawi National Park, Malawi. J Appl Ichthyol 12:131–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Oliveira RF, Miranda JA, Carvalho N, Gonçalves EJ, Grober MS, Santos RS (2000) Male mating success in the Azorean rock-pool blenny: the effects of body size, male behaviour and nest characteristics. J Fish Biol 57:1416–1428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pauers MJ, McKinnon JS, Ehlinger TJ (2004) Directional sexual selection on chroma and within-pattern colour contrast in Labeotropheus fuelleborni. Proc R Soc Lond B 271(Suppl):S444–S447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Plenderleith M, van Oosterhout C, Robinson RL, Turner GF (2005) Female preference for conspecific males based on olfactory cues in a Lake Malawi cichlid fish. Biol Lett 1:411–414PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Reinthal PN (1990) The feeding habits of a group of herbivorous rock-dwelling cichlid fishes (Cichlidae: Perciformes) from Lake Malawi, Africa. Environ Biol Fish 27:215–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ribbink AJ, Ribbink AC (1997) Paedophagia among cichlid fishes of Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi/Nyasa. S Afr J Sci 93:509–512Google Scholar
  51. Ribbink AJ, Marsh BA, Marsh AC, Ribbink AC, Sharp BJ (1983) A preliminary survey of the cichlid fishes of rocky habitats in Lake Malawi. S Afr J Zool 18:149–310Google Scholar
  52. Riechert SE (1979) Games spiders play II. Resource assessment strategies. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 6:121–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Robertson DR (1995) Competitive ability and the potential for lotteries among territorial reef fishes. Oecologia 103:180–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Seehausen O, van Alphen JJM (1998) The effect of male coloration on female mate choice in closely related Lake Victoria cichlids (Haplochromis nyererei complex). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 42:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Seehausen O, van Alphen JJM, Witte F (1997) Cichlid fish diversity threatened by eutrophication that curbs sexual selection. Science 277:1808–1811CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Semmens BX, Brumbaugh DR, Drew JA (2005) Interpreting space use and behavior of blue tang, Acanthurus coeruleus, in the context of habitat, density, and intra-specific interactions. Environ Biol Fish 74:99–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Streelman JT, Danley PD (2003) The stages of vertebrate evolutionary radiation. Trends Ecol Evol 18:126–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Taylor MI, Turner GF, Robinson RL, Stauffer JR Jr (1998) Sexual selection, parasites and bower height skew in a bower-building cichlid fish. Anim Behav 56:379–384PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Trendall J (1988) Recruitment of juvenile mbuna (Pisces: Cichlidae) to experimental rock shelters in Lake Malawi, Africa. Environ Biol Fish 22:117–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Trewavas E (1984) Nouvel examen des genres et sous-genres du complexe Pseudotropheus-Melanochromis du lac Malawi (Pisces, Perciformes, Cichlidae). Revue Fr Aquariol 10:97–106Google Scholar
  61. Turner GF, Huntingford FA (1986) A problem for game theory analysis: assessment and intention in male mouthbrooder contests. Anim Behav 34:961–970CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. van Oppen MJH, Turner GF, Rico C, Robinson RL, Deutsch JC, Genner MJ, Hewitt GM (1998) Assortative mating among rock-dwelling cichlid fishes supports high estimates of species richness from Lake Malawi. Mol Ecol 7:991–1001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Warner RR (1987) Female choice of sites versus mates in a coral reef fish, Thalassoma bifasciatum. Anim Behav 35:1470–1478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Warner RR, Dill LM (2000) Courtship displays and coloration as indicators of safety rather than of male quality: the safety assurance hypothesis. Behav Ecol 11:444–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yasukawa K (1981) Male quality and female choice of mate in the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). Ecology 62:922–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Population Ecology Branch, Atlantic Ecology DivisionUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyNarragansettUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations