Mate choice in female convict cichlids (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) and the relationship between male size and dominance
- 238 Downloads
We examined how male size and fighting ability influence a female’s mate assessment process and her eventual mate choice in the monogamous convict cichlid, Amatitlania nigrofasciata. Females always chose the larger of two males when they were allowed to see a larger male next to a smaller one and when a larger male defeated a smaller one in a fight. They did not differentiate between large and small males when they did not see the two males together nor did they choose a dominant over a subordinate male when both were the same size. We suggest that females select on the basis of male size because it is a better predictor of both direct and indirect benefits (i.e., future competitive interactions and foraging ability) than dominance behavior only. Despite selecting one male over the other early in the courtship period, females continued to visit both males until spawning. Our evidence suggests that this assessment behavior more closely resembles a bet-hedging tactic rather than the female’s indecision as to which male will be her mate.
KeywordsMate choice Mate competition Intrasexual competition Monogamy Cichlidae
We thank Brian O’ Loughlin, Erin Anthony, Natalie van Breukelen, and Jenny Gumm for their assistance in taking positional data in this experiment and for helpful comments.
- Andersson M (1994) Sexual selection. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
- Bockelman AK (2004) Courtship and parental care in the biparental convict cichlid fish (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus): a test of their relationship. Ph.D. Dissertation, Lehigh UniversityGoogle Scholar
- Draud MJ, Itzkowitz M (2004) Mate numbers or mate quality: female mate choice in the promiscuous variegated pupfish (Cyprinodon variegates). Ecol Ethol Evol 16:1–13Google Scholar
- Itzkowitz M, Vollmer G, Rios-Carenas O (1998) Competition for nesting sites between monogamous pairs of convict cichlids (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum): Asymmetries in size and prior residence. Behaviour 135:261–267Google Scholar
- Qvarnström A, Forsgren E (1998) Should females prefer dominant males? Tree 13:498–501Google Scholar
- van Breukelen NA, Draud M (2005) The roles of male size and female eavesdropping in divorce in the monogamous convict cichlid (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus, Cichlidae). Behaviour 142:1029–1041Google Scholar
- Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New JerseyGoogle Scholar