Pair-bond formation and breeding-site limitation in the convict cichlid, Archocentrus nigrofasciatus
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Convict cichlids (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus) form pair bonds, are serially monogamous, and give biparental care to their offspring. Males and females may individually establish a breeding site before courtship, or they may form a pair and then obtain a breeding site together. Such sites are important resources for convict cichlids, and their availability often limits reproduction. Here, we examined if variation in breeding-site availability affected pair bonding between males and females and aggressive behaviors between bonded pairs. Groups of three males and three females were placed in large aquaria and randomly assigned to the following treatments: (1) the fish were provided with two breeding sites; (2) the fish were provided with two breeding sites throughout the experiment, one of which was later removed; (3) the fish were provided with one breeding site initially, and a second was later added; (4) the fish were provided with no breeding sites throughout the experiment. We found that pair bonds rarely formed when no breeding sites were provided; however, pair-bond formation was not limited by breeding-site number when at least one breeding site was available. In addition, there were no differences in aggression by paired individuals after breeding site manipulation, perhaps indicating that changes in the subsequent availability of breeding sites after pair formation did not influence a pair’s aggression.
KeywordsConvict cichlid Pair bond Limited resources Breeding site
We thank Jennifer E. Gagliardi-Seely, John K. Leiser, and Jennifer L. Snekser for helpful comments throughout the course of these experiments. We also thank Brian Wisenden and Emanuel Gonçalves for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. All methods have been approved by the Lehigh University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and comply with the laws of the State of Pennsylvania and the USA.
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