Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 89–94 | Cite as

Offspring number in a livebearing fish (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae): reduced fecundity and reduced plasticity in a population of cave mollies

  • Rüdiger Riesch
  • Michael Tobler
  • Martin Plath
  • Ingo Schlupp
Article

Abstract

Life history traits within species often vary among different habitats. We measured female fecundity in mollies (Poecilia mexicana) from a H2S-rich cave and from a neighbouring surface habitat, as well as in laboratory-reared individuals of both populations raised in either light or continuous darkness. Compared to conspecifics from surface habitats, cave-dwelling P. mexicana had reduced fecundity (adjusted for size) in the field. In the laboratory, the fecundity of surface mollies was higher in light than in darkness, whereas fecundity in the cave mollies was almost unaffected by the ambient light conditions. Our results suggest a heritable component to the reduction in fecundity in female cave mollies. Moreover, the reduced plasticity in fecundity of cave mollies in response to light conditions might be an example of genetic assimilation or channelling of a life history trait in a population invading a new environment.

Keywords

Cave fish Fecundity Hydrogen sulphide Life history Evolution Phenotypic plasticity 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rüdiger Riesch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Tobler
    • 1
    • 3
  • Martin Plath
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ingo Schlupp
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Biozentrum Grindel, Zoologisches InstitutUniversität HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Zoologisches InstitutUniversität ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Institut für Biochemie/Biologie, Abteilung für TierökologieUniversität PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  5. 5.Institut für Biochemie/Biologie, Abteilung für Evolutionsbiologie/Spezielle ZoologieUniversität PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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