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Effects of mating order and male size on embryo survival in a pipefish


Braga Goncalves, Ines; Mobley, Kenyon B; Ahnesjö, Ingrid; Sagebakken, Gry; Jones, Adam G; Kvarnemo, Charlotta (2015). Effects of mating order and male size on embryo survival in a pipefish. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 114:639-645.

Abstract

In species that provide parental care, individuals should invest adaptively in their offspring in relation to the preand post-zygotic care provided by their partners. In the broad-nosed pipefish, Syngnathus typhle L., females transfer large, nutrient-rich eggs into the male brood pouch during mating. The male broods and nourishes the embryos for several weeks before independent juveniles emerge at parturition. Given a choice, females clearly prefer large partners. Yet, females provide protein-richer eggs when the same individual mates with a smaller than a larger male. In the present study, we allowed each female to mate with one small and one large male, in alternated order. We found a strong effect of female mating order, with larger clutches and higher embryo mortality in first- than second-laid broods, which may suggest that eggs over-ripen in the ovaries or reflect the negative effects of high embryo density in the brood pouch. In either case, this effect should put constraints on the possibility of a female being selective in mate choice. We also found that small and large males produced embryos of similar size and survival, consistent with the reproductive compensation hypothesis, suggesting that, in this species, larger males provide better nourishment to the embryos than smaller males .

Abstract

In species that provide parental care, individuals should invest adaptively in their offspring in relation to the preand post-zygotic care provided by their partners. In the broad-nosed pipefish, Syngnathus typhle L., females transfer large, nutrient-rich eggs into the male brood pouch during mating. The male broods and nourishes the embryos for several weeks before independent juveniles emerge at parturition. Given a choice, females clearly prefer large partners. Yet, females provide protein-richer eggs when the same individual mates with a smaller than a larger male. In the present study, we allowed each female to mate with one small and one large male, in alternated order. We found a strong effect of female mating order, with larger clutches and higher embryo mortality in first- than second-laid broods, which may suggest that eggs over-ripen in the ovaries or reflect the negative effects of high embryo density in the brood pouch. In either case, this effect should put constraints on the possibility of a female being selective in mate choice. We also found that small and large males produced embryos of similar size and survival, consistent with the reproductive compensation hypothesis, suggesting that, in this species, larger males provide better nourishment to the embryos than smaller males .

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:29 Dec 2015 15:05
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:48
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0024-4066
Additional Information:The data is available from Dryad Digital Repository. http://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1f4k3
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/bij.12441

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