Journal of Ethology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 239–244 | Cite as

The function of aggression in the swordtail, Xiphophorus helleri: resource defence

Article

Abstract

Competition for mating opportunities may involve exclusion of intrasexual competitors (direct) or defending resources necessary to attract mates (indirect). Male swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri) engage in direct competition. Moreover in natural populations they defend a home range. This study aimed to test whether this home range defence is a form of food resource defence, which may therefore have a female attraction function. Male swordtails did defend a food resource and showed increased aggression in the presence of both food and females. However, food resource defence decreased when females were present, suggesting that both food and females are treated as defendable resources.

Keywords

Aggression Resource defence Dominance Home range Male size 

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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries ScienceRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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