Male and female shell-brooding cichlids prefer different shell characteristics

Mitchell, Jeremy S.; Wirtz Orcana, Sabine; Taborsky, Michael (2014). Male and female shell-brooding cichlids prefer different shell characteristics. Animal behaviour, 98, pp. 131-137. Elsevier Ltd. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.10.004

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In resource defence polygyny, where males defend resources that females use for reproduction, the resource characteristics preferred by the two sexes are expected to match. We tested this expectation by comparing the shell characteristics preferred by males and females in the shell-brooding cichlid fish Lamprologus callipterus. In this species, males attract females by collecting and defending shells within which females breed. We added shells to males' nests and found that females were more likely to occupy large shells but made no distinction between new, smooth shells and old shells coated with mineral deposits. In contrast, when we placed additional shells adjacent to males' nests, males were more likely to retrieve shells covered in mineral deposits but showed no significant preference for large shells over small shells. Furthermore, many shells in males' nests were smaller than the smallest shell that females used for breeding. The discrepancy between male and female preferences suggests that empty shells in L. callipterus nests may have additional functions, beyond serving as breeding substrate. We discuss the possibility that shells may also be extended phenotype signals analogous to the decorations of a bower.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Behavioural Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Taborsky, Michael

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

0003-3472

Publisher:

Elsevier Ltd.

Language:

English

Submitter:

Karin Schneeberger

Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2017 10:17

Last Modified:

14 Feb 2017 10:17

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.10.004

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.91480

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/91480

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