Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 62–68 | Cite as

Female rock shrimp Rhynchocinetes typus mate in rapid succession up a male dominance hierarchy

  • Martin ThielEmail author
  • Cristián Correa
Original Article


The dynamics of male-male competition for mates and patterns of female choice depend critically on the social environment. We released newly molted sexually receptive females of the rock shrimp Rhynchocinetes typus in the field and recorded their interactions with males. In the dense aggregations in which these shrimp live, most females were encountered and seized by males within 2 min. Usually, females were first seized by subordinate males, and subsequently taken over by the dominant males. Many females (17 out of 23) had multiple mates during the 10-min observation period, and most of them received spermatophores from multiple males. Males used different mating tactics in accordance with their dominance status: subordinate males often used the sneaking tactic, seizing the female and immediately transferring spermatophores. In contrast, all dominant males used the primary mating tactic; they seized and stimulated the female before transferring spermatophores. Results from previous studies had indicated that females may reduce the fertilization chances of subordinate males by delaying spawning and removing spermatophores. We suggest that this capability in combination with the observed rapid mate succession may enable females to exploit male contest behaviors.


Shrimp Polyandry Contest induction Female choice Sexual selection Mating systems 



We are grateful to W. Stotz and I. Hinojosa for their support during various stages of this study. Inspiring discussions with T. van Son contributed to our understanding of rock-shrimp mating. Constructive criticism from A. Baeza and T. van Son is greatly appreciated. We are particularly grateful to J. Christy and three anonymous reviewers for extensive comments that helped to substantially improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad Ciencias del MarUniversidad Católica del NorteCoquimboChile
  2. 2.Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA)CoquimboChile

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