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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 223, Issue 1, pp 255–282 | Cite as

Precopulatory mating behavior and sexual dimorphism in the amphipod Crustacea

  • Kathleen E. Conlan
Article

Abstract

Accounts in the literature of precopulatory mate-guarding in gammaridean amphipods are that males use one of two strategies for mating: either they mate-guard by carrying or attending their mates until they are ready to molt and be fertilized, or they do not guard, instead searching benthically or swarming pelagically at the time that females are ready to molt. Mate-guarding by carrying has been documented for species of the superfamilies Gammaroidea, Talitroidea, and Hadzioidea. Mate-guarding by attending has been found in the more sedentary Corophioidea and Caprellidea. Non-mate-guarders that search pelagically are species of Ampeliscoidea, Lysianassoidea, Phoxocephaloidea, Oedicerotoidea, and Pontoporeioidea. Non-mate-guarders that mate-search benthically are species of Eusiroidea, Crangonyctoidea, and Haustorioidea. Mate-guarding and non-mate-guarding males develop different secondary sex characters at maturity. Mate-guarding males have enhancements for fighting and signalling. These alterations are more elaborate in males that attend their mates than in males that carry their mates. Non-mate-guarders that search pelagically develop enhancements for swimming and sensing. Non-mate-guarders that remain benthic exhibit little change at maturity. Most mate-guarding males develop their secondary sexual characters over several molts and mate over more than one instar. Pelagic mate-searchers develop their secondary sexual characters at the last molt and mating is confined to the last instar. Females of most mate-guarding species are iteroparous, while fewer than half of non-mate-guarding species are so. It is hypothesized that mate-guarding arose more than once in the evolutionary history of amphipod Crustacea.

Key words

mating behavior sexual dimorphism amphipods 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen E. Conlan
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoology DivisionCanadian Museum of Nature (formerly National Museum of Natural Sciences)OttawaCanada

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