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Role of female territoriality in social and mating systems of Canthigaster valentini (Pisces: Tetraodontidae): evidence from field experiments


Sharpnose puffers, Canthigaster valentini (Pisces: Tetraodontidae) at Lizard Island, Australia, live in made-dominated haremic social and mating systems. The hypothesis was that mature females are restricted in their movements and can be monopolized by some males. Field experiments at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, between January and March 1983 showed that mature females were still territorial in the absence of males and movements of females were not controlled by males. Males abandoned their territories when their females were removed. The territorial behavior of those males with access to females (territorial males) restricted the access of other males (bachelor males) to them. Bachelor males took over harems and became territorial males when established territorial males were removed. The results of the experiments thus supported the hypothesis.

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Communicated by G. F. Humphrey, Sydney

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Gladstone, W. Role of female territoriality in social and mating systems of Canthigaster valentini (Pisces: Tetraodontidae): evidence from field experiments. Mar. Biol. 96, 185–191 (1987).

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