Among a variety of fish mating systems, promiscuity with random-mating seems to be most prevalent. However, detailed studies of promiscuity have been rare due partly to the peculiar difficulty in examination of male mating and reproductive success in the random mating. Females of the armoured catfish Corydoras aeneus (no sexual dimorphism other than size of males > females) spawn 10–20 egg-clutches with multiple males at a time, but an entire egg clutch is inseminated by sperm of a single male. We studied mating system of this fish in aquarium. Males had neither mating territories nor monopolized females, never being aggressive against rival males. Evidence of female preference for certain male traits including size was not detected. Females mated a male in proportion to his relative courtship frequency among males. Courtship frequency was not related to male size, and male mating success was not different between small and large males. Clutch size and insemination rate were different neither between small and large males nor between frequently and less frequently courting males. Thus, the male reproductive success will not be related to the male size, but directly to courtship frequency, indicating the random mating in this fish. There seemed to be fecundity advantage with size in female, and the consequent sexual difference in energy allocation will be responsible to the sexual dimorphism. We also discuss the low male-GSI in this promiscuous fish in which sperm competition hardly occurred.
male mating competition female choice mating success body size sexual size dimorphism sperm competition