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Conservation Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1645–1649 | Cite as

Serial monogamy in the European long-snouted seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus

  • Lucy C. Woodall
  • Heather J. Koldewey
  • Paul W. Shaw
Short Communication

Abstract

Seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) are non-sex-role-reversed members of the Syngnathidae family that provide extensive brood care. Previous studies of seahorses have revealed monogamy within a single brood, but their longer term mating system had not been comprehensively evaluated. The parental contribution to 29 wild-born broods of Hippocampus guttulatus, sampled from six Portuguese populations with differing seahorse densities and sex ratios, was assessed using microsatellite DNA markers. To assess the longer term genetic mating system of this species parentage was determined in eleven broods sampled from a captive population over two breeding seasons. Genetic data suggest that this socially polygamous seahorse is serially monogamous across breeding seasons, i.e. monogamous within a season but may switch mates between seasons, and that differing population densities and sex ratios do not affect the mating system.

Keywords

Seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus Serial monogamy Mating system 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This is a contribution from Project Seahorse. We thank the aquarium staff of Zoological Society of London, and also Niall McKeown for technical advice. We acknowledge Oceanario Lisboa and Aquario Vasco da Gama for help with fish collection; especially G. Nunes and F. Gil. L. Woodall was supported by a NERC CASE studentship (NER/S/C/2005/13461) and by grants from Royal Holloway University of London. The research was also supported by funds from Chocolaterie Guylian, Belgium and the Zoological Society of London.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucy C. Woodall
    • 1
    • 4
  • Heather J. Koldewey
    • 2
  • Paul W. Shaw
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesRoyal Holloway University of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.Zoological Society of London, Regent’s ParkLondonUK
  3. 3.Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural SciencesAberystwyth UniversityAberystwythUK
  4. 4.School of Natural SciencesUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK

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