Filial cannibalism in a nest-guarding fish: females prefer to spawn in nests with few eggs over many
2014 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 68, no 10, 1565-1576 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In fish, fecundity correlates with female body size and egg-tending males often eat small broods. Therefore, small females may prefer to spawn in nests that already contain many eggs, to ensure the brood is as large as possible. In contrast, large females may prefer nests with few eggs, if high egg number or density has a negative effect on egg survival, or if there are drawbacks of spawning last in a nest. To test the hypothesis that female body size affects nest (and male mate) choice, using the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus), we allowed small and large females to choose between two males that were matched in size - one guarding a small clutch and the other a large clutch, respectively. We recorded where females spawned (measure of female preference), the combined brood size, male courtship, egg care and nest building. We also quantified the effect of brood size and egg density on egg survival in a separate data set. Although the combined broods did not exceed the small brood sizes that are at risk of being eaten, both small and large females preferred to spawn in nests with smaller clutch sizes. This preference could not be explained by more courtship or male parental effort, nor by reduced survival of larger or denser broods. Instead, our result might be explained by females avoiding the danger of cannibalism of young eggs by males or the risk of reduced egg health associated with being near the nest periphery.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 68, no 10, 1565-1576 p.
Brood reduction, Clutch size, Courtship intensity, Female choice, Filial cannibalism, Gobidae, Mate choice, Reproductive success
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108529DOI: 10.1007/s00265-014-1766-zISI: 000342226200003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-108529DiVA: diva2:762196