Linking reproduction, locomotion, and habitat use in the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata)
Pregnancy inhibits locomotion, increases predation risk and may translate into reduced survival. The extent to which animals modify behavior in the wild to compensate for the locomotor costs of pregnancy remains poorly understood. We have investigated how reproductive allocation (RA—the proportion of body mass devoted to reproduction) affects locomotor performance and habitat use in Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata) populations from low- and high-predation regimes. During steady swimming, females with high RA had increased tail beat amplitudes, indicating increased swimming costs. Females with high RA also exhibited slower escape velocities, which may result in an increased risk of predation. In low-predation localities, females with high RA used habitats with a lower water velocity, suggesting that females may be modifying behavior to offset the locomotor costs of pregnancy. Habitat use in high-predation localities was severely restricted to areas without predators, which had a relatively slower water velocity with little or no variation in current. These results provide a link between the performance-related costs of reproduction and behavior in a natural setting and show that animals may compensate for reproductive traits that constrain locomotor performance by modifying habitat use.
KeywordsSwimming performance Poecilia reticulata Predation Reproductive costs Reproductive allocation
This research was funded by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant to A.I.B (DEB-0710185), an NSF FIBR Grant to D.N.R. (DEB-0623632EF), and a Grant from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) in Portugal to J.C.S. (SFRH/BPD/89473/2012). The Idella Foundation provided travel funding to J.C.S. We thank Karin Nilsson for assistance in the field and Roslyn Dakin for advice on mixed models in R. Joel Trexler, Eric Sokol, J. Matt Hoch, Joseph Parkos, Clifton Ruehl, Doug Altshuler, Paolo Segre, and anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.
Author contribution statement
AIB, DNR, and JCS conceived and designed the experiments. AIB and JCS performed the experiments. AIB and KJE analyzed the data. AIB wrote the manuscript. JCS and DNR provided editorial advice.
Compliance with ethical standards
All applicable institutional and/or national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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