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  • 1.
    Lissåker, Maria
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Ekologi.
    Svensson, Ola
    Cannibalize or care?: The role of perceived paternity in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus2008In: Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, Vol. 62, p. 1467-1475Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Parental care is a costly part of reproduction. Hence, natural selection should favor males which avoid caring for unrelated young. However, the decision to abandon or reduce care requires cues which are evaluated to give information on potential reproductive value of the offspring. The prediction that male sand gobies, Pomatoschistus minutus, care for foreign eggs as long as they were spawned in their own nest and at least some of such cues are fulfilled was tested. Egg-guarding males that had recently taken part in a spawning event were given a clutch of eggs that was sired either by themselves or another male, in either their own or another male's aquarium. Males that had not taken part in a spawning event were used as controls and were given eggs sired by another male. We measured the amount of filial cannibalism and nest building. Control group males did not care for eggs and ate them all before rebuilding the nest. In the other treatments, there were no significant effects of paternity, though males moved to another male's aquarium increased their clutch area threshold and completely consumed larger clutches than males that were not moved. There was no intermediate response in any treatment in the form of increased partial filial cannibalism or less well-constructed nests. Our results suggest that egg-guarding males cannot distinguish between eggs sired by themselves and those sired by other males but are able to react to cues indicating paternity state. Males do not adopt eggs to attract females in P. minutus.

  • 2.
    Svensson, Ola
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Ekologi.
    Kvarnemo, Charlotta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Ekologi.
    Parasitic spawning in sand gobies: an experimental assessment of nest-opening size, sneaker male cues, paternity and filial cannibalism.2007In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 18, p. 410-419Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Sneaking is common in nest-building fish with paternal care, but the role of nest-opening size in protecting against entry by sneaker males has never been tested before. Using the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus), a fish with exclusive paternal care, experimental manipulations of nest openings provided no support for the hypothesis that nest openings serve as physical or visual defense or that sneaker males prefer to parasitize nests with wide openings. Female mating preference was also not influenced by nest-opening size. However, female courtship behavior and visibility were important cues for sneaker males. Most sneak entries occurred when the nest holder was occupied with courtship, chasing another sneaker male or nest building. In half the cases of observed sneak entry, the sneaker male fertilized eggs, also when sneaking only occurred before spawning. Sneak entry and its duration were good estimates of stolen paternity, but neither sneak entries nor degree of fertilizations were correlated with filial cannibalistic behavior. Testes size did not explain parasitic spawning success in replicates with genetically determined sneaking. However, all sneaker males without breeding coloration had huge testes and small sperm duct glands, whereas nest-holding males had small testes and large sperm duct glands, and sneaker males with breeding coloration were intermediate.

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