Serial monogamy in the European long-snouted seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus
- 326 Downloads
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.
KeywordsSeahorse Hippocampus guttulatus Serial monogamy Mating system
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.
- Curtis JMR (2004) History, ecology and conservation of european seahorses. PhD Thesis, McGill University, Montreal, CanadaGoogle Scholar
- Curtis JMR (2007) Validation of a method for estimating realized annual fecundity in a multiple spawner, the long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus), using underwater visual census. Fish Bull 10:327–336Google Scholar
- Raymond M, Rousset F (1995) Genepop (version 1.2) population genetics software for exact tests and ecumenicism. J Hered 86:248–249Google Scholar
- Woodall LC (2009) Population genetics and mating systems of European Seahorses. PhD Thesis, Royal Holloway University of London, London, UKGoogle Scholar