Nonparasitic lampreys are highly promiscuous: a single female can mate over several dozen times with multiple males. It remains unknown why females mate so frequently despite presumed costs from an elongated spawning period. This paper documents that female Siberian brook lampreys mate without egg release (termed “sham mating”) at remarkably high frequencies. Females mated 20–196 times during a breeding experiment, of which sham mating comprised 35–90%. The number of eggs released may be physically constrained in each mating by the lamprey’s elongated body and behavior. Female lampreys might also control egg release depending on surrounding males.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Andersson M, Simmons LW (2006) Sexual selection and mate choice. Trends Ecol Evol 21:296–302
Beamish FW (1979) Migration and spawning energetics of the anadromous sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus. Environ Biol Fish 4:3–7
Beamish RJ, Neville CM (1992) The importance of size as an isolating mechanism in lampreys. Copeia 1:191–196
Birkhead T (2000) Promiscuity: an evolutionary history of sperm competition and sexual conflict. Faber and Faber, London
Cochran PA, Bloom DD, Wagner RJ (2008) Alternative reproductive behaviors in lampreys and their signifcance. J Freshw Ecol 22:37–41
Dicken ML, Booth AJ (2013) Surveys of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) off bathing beaches in Algoa Bay, South Africa. Mar Freshwater Res 64:530–539. doi:10.1071/MF12336
Hagelin LO (1959) Further aquarium observations on the spawning habits of the river lamprey (Petromyzon fluviatilis). Oikos 10:50–64
Hardisty MW, Potter IC (1971) The biology of lampreys, vol 1. Academic Press, London
Hume JB, Adams CE, Mable B, Bean CW (2013) Sneak male mating tactics between lampreys (Petromyzontiformes) exhibiting alternative life-history strategies. J Fish Biol 82:1093–1100
Hunter FM, Petrie M, Otronen M, Birkhead T, Møller AP (1993) Why do females copulate repeatedly with one male? Trends Ecol Evol 8:21–26
Iwata A, Goto A, Hamada K (1985) A review of the Siberian lamprey, Lethenteron kessleri, in Hokkaido, Japan. Bull Fac Fish Hokkaido Univ 36:182–190
Jang MH, Lucas MC (2005) Reproductive ecology of the river lamprey. J Fish Biol 66:499–512. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2005.00618.x
Johnson NS, Buchinger TJ, Li W (2015) Reproductive ecology of lampreys. In: Docker MF (ed) Lampreys: biology, conservation and control. Springer, the Netherlands, pp 265–303
Luhring TM, Meckley TD, Johnson NS et al (2016) A semelparous fish continues upstream migration when exposed to alarm cue, but adjusts movement speed and timing. Anim Behav 121:41–51. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.08.007
Malmqvist B (1980) The spawning migration of the brook lamprey, Lampetra planer Bloch, in a South Swedish stream. J Fish Biol 16:105–114
Malmqvist B (1983) Breeding behaviour of brook lampreys Lampetra planeri: experiments on mate choice. Oikos 41:43–48
Maunder MN, Punt AE (2004) Standardizing catch and effort data: a review of recent approaches. Fish Res 70:141–159. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2004.08.002
Nelson XJ, Fijin N (2013) The use of visual media as a tool for investigating animal behaviour. Anim Behav 85:525–536
Renaud CB (2011) Lampreys of the world: an annotated and illustrated catalogue of lamprey species known to date. FAO, Rome
Salewski V (2003) Satellite species in lampreys: a worldwide trend for ecological speciation in sympatry? J Fish Biol 63:267–279. doi:10.1046/j.1095-8649.2003.00166.x
Takayama M (2002) Spawning activities and physical characteristics of the spawning ground of Lethenteron reissneri at the headstream of the Himekawa River, central Japan. Ichthyol Res 49:165–170
Westneat DF, Stewart IRK (2003) Extra-pair paternity in birds: causes, correlates and conflict. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 34:365–396
Yasui Y (1998) The “genetic benefits” of female multiple mating reconsidered. Trends Ecol Evol 13:246–250
Young RT, Cole LJ (1900) On the nesting habits of the brook lamprey (Lampetra wilderi). Am Nat 34:617–620
We greatly appreciate invaluable comments from Dr. J. B. Hume and an anonymous reviewer on the earlier version of the manuscript. This study was partly supported by the research fund provided by the Sasakawa Scientific Research Grant from The Japan Science Society (No. 25–515) to C. Y.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Formal approval for the field experiment was granted by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the National University Corporation Hokkaido University (approval no. 26-2).
About this article
Cite this article
Yamazaki, C., Koizumi, I. High frequency of mating without egg release in highly promiscuous nonparasitic lamprey Lethenteron kessleri . J Ethol 35, 237–243 (2017) doi:10.1007/s10164-017-0505-0
- Citizen data
- Female choice
- Group spawning
- Mate choice
- Spawning aggregation