The ART of mating : alternative reproductive tactics and mating success in a nest-guarding fish

Mascolino, S, Benvenuto, C ORCID:, Gubili, C, Sacchi, C, Boufana, B and Mariani, S ORCID: 2016, 'The ART of mating : alternative reproductive tactics and mating success in a nest-guarding fish' , Journal of Fish Biology, 89 (6) , pp. 2643-2657.

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Fish use different modalities to access mates for reproduction, often referred to as Alternative Reproductive Tactics (ARTs). ARTs are an example of coexisting phenotypes, which have to hold some degree of reproductive success to persist in a population. In the Mediterranean damselfish (Chromis chromis), territorial males colonise nests on rocky reefs, competing for females, while sneaker males attempt to parasitically spawn in those nests. Here we combine behavioural observations in the field with molecular analyses, using bi-parentally and maternally inherited markers, to investigate reproductive success patterns of the two observed male ARTs in terms of number of eggs sired and number of females contributing to each nest. Cuckoldry was observed in every nest sampled, with at least two and up to seven sneakers per nest; however, the nesting male always significantly fathered the large majority of the eggs (on average 49%) in each clutch. Each sneaker fathered around 7% of the clutch. The average number of females whose eggs were fertilised by nesting males was 6.76 (ranging 2-13), while each sneaker on average fertilised the eggs of 1.74 (range 1-8) females. Using this sibship reconstruction, we investigated some of the factors involved in the regulation of the dynamic equilibrium of reproductive success between the two ARTs showed by C. chromis males. Our results show that the sneakers’ reproductive success was positively linked to egg clutch size; the density of individuals in the nesting area negatively affected the size of egg clutches; the rate of defence behaviours performed by nesting males negatively influenced the number of females contributing to each nest.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Fish Biology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0022-1112
Related URLs:
Funders: Irish Research Council
Depositing User: C Benvenuto
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2016 08:10
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 21:06

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