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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2002

Plastic sex-roles in the common goby - the effect of nest availability

Borg AA, Forsgren E, Magnhagen C


One of the most important factors shaping animal sex-roles is the operational sex ratio, since a skew of this ratio promotes mating competition in the more abundant sex. In this study, we wanted to see if a change in sex-roles, related to an environmental induced change in operational sex ratio, could be demonstrated in a field situation. Common goby (Pomatoschistus microps) males build nests under bivalve shells and provide exclusive parental care. Therefore, available nest sites are crucial for successful breeding in this species and should also affect the operational sex ratio. We addressed the question of whether the availability of nest sites, through an effect on the operational sex ratio, affects courtship and mating competition in the common goby. We increased nest site availability in the field by adding potential nest material (bivalve shells) to one location. We then compared the reproductive behaviour of the gobies at this and another location with lower nest site abundance. In general, the reproductive behaviour differed as predicted. Under nest shortage, males occupied new nests and received eggs faster than under nest excess. Behavioural observations of nests revealed that males initiated courtship more often than females where nest sites were abundant, whereas female courtship dominated where nests were scarce. Males more often rejected females attempting to enter their nests under nest shortage, male sneaking attempts were also more common in this bay. Male-male aggression was frequent at both locations, whereas agonistic interactions between females only occurred in the nest shortage bay. Thus, males should be subject to sexual selection in both bays even though courtship roles differed. These results suggest that nest site availability affects mating competition and courtship roles in the common goby

Publicerad i

2002, Volym: 98, nummer: 1, sidor: 105-115

      SLU författare

    UKÄ forskningsämne

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

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