acta ethologica

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 49–53 | Cite as

Differences in aggressive behavior between convict cichlid color morphs: amelanistic convicts lose even with a size advantage

Short Communication

Abstract

Convict cichlids (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus) are a territorial, monogamous, and biparental Central American cichlid fish. Convicts exist in two common color morphs: the wild-type (WT) black-barred form and an amelanistic (AM) barless morph. Color morphs affect aggressive interactions in other species of fish. We staged fights between males of each color morph with varying size asymmetries and found that WT males were able to overcome a size disadvantage by increasing their rate of aggressive behavior. AM males lost more often when smaller than their opponent, apparently because they did not increase their rate of aggressive behavior when at a size disadvantage. We discuss two possible hypotheses to explain these findings: (1) that there are genetic differences in aggressive behavior between the morphs and (2) that AM fish are disadvantaged in staged contests because they are unable to signal via changes in bar coloration.

Keywords

Color morphs Aggressive behavior Dyadic contests Convict cichlids Archocentrus nigrofasciatus 

References

  1. Barlow GW (1983a) The benefits of being gold: behavioural consequences of polychromatism in the Midas cichlid, Cichlasoma citrinellum. Environ Biol Fishes 8:235–247. doi:10.1007/BF00001089 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barlow GW (1983b) Do gold Midas cichlid fish win fights because of their colour or because they lack normal colouration? A logistic solution. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 13:197–204. doi:10.1007/BF00299923 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barlow GW (2000) The cichlid fishes: nature's grand experiment in evolution. Perseus, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  4. Beeching SC (1995) Color pattern and inhibition of aggression in the cichlid fish Astronotus ocellatus. J Fish Biol 47:50–58Google Scholar
  5. Beeching SC, Holt BA, Neiderer MP (2002) Ontogeny of melanistic color pattern elements in the convict cichlid, cichlasoma nigrofasciatum. Copeia 1:199–203. doi:10.1643/0045-8511(2002) 002[0199:OOMCPE]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bockelman AK, Itzkowitz M (2008) Males respond differently than females to mate loss in the biparental convict cichlid fish. Behaviour 145:313–325. doi:10.1163/156853908783402939 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dijkstra PD, Seehausen O (2005) Direct male–male competition can facilitate invasion of new colour types in Lake Victoria cichlids. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 58:136–143. doi:10.1007/s00265-005-0919-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Draud M, Lynch PAE (2002) Asymmetric contests for breeding sites between monogamous pairs of convict cichlids (Archocentrus nigrofaciatum, Cichlidae): pair experience pays. Behaviour 139:861–887. doi:10.1163/156853902320387864 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Espmark Y, Knudsen T (2001) Intraspecific brood adoption in the convict cichlid with respect to fry of two colour morphs. J Fish Biol 59:504–514. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2001.tb02356.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gagliardi-Seeley JL, Itzkowitz M (2006) Male size predicts the ability to defend offspring in the biparental convict cichlid Archocentrus nigrofasciatus. J Fish Biol 69:1239–1244. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2006.01174.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gumm JM, Itzkowitz M (2007) Pair-bond formation and breeding site limitation in the convict cichlid, Archocentrus nigrofasciatus. Acta Ethol 10:29–33. doi:10.1007/s10211-007-0028-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Heiligenberg W, Schulz V, Kramer U (1972) Angular orientation of black eye bar in haplochromis-burtoni (cichlidae, pisces) and its relevance to aggressivity. Z Vgl Physiol 76:168–176. doi:10.1007/BF00455960 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hurd PL (1997) Cooperative signaling between opponents in fish fights. Anim Behav 54:1309–1315. doi:10.1006/anbe.1997.0531 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Itzkovich J, Rothbard S, Hulata G (1981) Inheritance of pink body colouration in Cichlasoma nigrofaciatum Gunther (Pisces, Cichlidae). Genetica 55:15–16. doi:10.1007/BF00133997 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Keeley ER, Grant JWA (1993a) Visual information, resource value, and sequential assessment in convict cichlid (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum) contests. Behav Ecol 4:345–349. doi:10.1093/beheco/4.4.345 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Keeley ER, Grant JWA (1993b) Asymmetries in the expected value of food do not predict the outcome of contests between convict cichlids. Anim Behav 45:1035–1037. doi:10.1006/anbe.1993.1124 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Koops MA, Grant JWA (1993) Weight asymmetry and sequential assessment in convict cichlid contests. Can J Zool 71:475–479. doi:10.1139/z93-068 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moretz JA, Morris MR (2003) Evolutionarily labile responses to a signal of aggressive intent. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 270:2271–2277. doi:10.1098/rspb.2003.2510 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Morris MR, Gass L, Ryan MJ (1995) Assessment and individual recognition of opponents in the pygmy swordtails Xiphophorus-nigrensis and Xiphophorus-multilineatus. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 37:303–310. doi:10.1007/BF00174134 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Richter M, Santangelo N, Itzkowitz M (2005) Biparental division of roles in the convict cichlid fish: influence of intruder numbers and locations. Ethol Ecol Evol 17:1–15Google Scholar
  21. Santangelo N, Itzkowitz M (2004) Sex differences in the mate selection process of the monogamous, biparental convict cichlid, Archocentrus nigrofasciatum. Behaviour 141:1041–1059. doi:10.1163/1568539042360125 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Siepen G, Crapon de Caprona MD (1986) The influence of parental colour morph on mate choice in the cichlid fish Cichlosoma nigrofaciatum. Ethology 71:187–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wisenden BD (1995) Reproductive behaviour of free-ranging convict cichlids, Cichlasoma nigrofaciatum. Environ Biol Fishes 43:121–134. doi:10.1007/BF00002480 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag and ISPA 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlbertaAlbertaCanada

Personalised recommendations