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Sexual selection in darkness? Female mating preferences in surface- and cave-dwelling Atlantic mollies, Poecilia mexicana (Poeciliidae, Teleostei).


Plath, M; Parzefall, J; Körner, K E; Schlupp, I (2004). Sexual selection in darkness? Female mating preferences in surface- and cave-dwelling Atlantic mollies, Poecilia mexicana (Poeciliidae, Teleostei). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 55(6):596-601.

Abstract

In many species, females prefer large males as mating partners. Male size can easily be determined visually. We examined how such mate choice evolves when individuals are deprived of sensory information previously used to determine male quality. Using a cave-dwelling population of Atlantic mollies, Poecilia mexicana, as a model, we asked whether the female mating preference for large male body size still occurs in this cave fish, or whether it is lacking due to the absence of visual communication in the cave environment. In simultaneous choice tests we compared the time females spent with a large or a small male. In the river-dwelling and cave-dwelling fish, as well as the population originating from the cave entrance, we found a significant preference for large males in light. Hence, the ancestral mating preference of surface-dwelling mollies has been maintained during the evolution of the cave form. However, only the cave population exhibited a mating preference in darkness. Determination of male body size appears to have been taken over by a non-visual sensory system, probably the lateral line.

In many species, females prefer large males as mating partners. Male size can easily be determined visually. We examined how such mate choice evolves when individuals are deprived of sensory information previously used to determine male quality. Using a cave-dwelling population of Atlantic mollies, Poecilia mexicana, as a model, we asked whether the female mating preference for large male body size still occurs in this cave fish, or whether it is lacking due to the absence of visual communication in the cave environment. In simultaneous choice tests we compared the time females spent with a large or a small male. In the river-dwelling and cave-dwelling fish, as well as the population originating from the cave entrance, we found a significant preference for large males in light. Hence, the ancestral mating preference of surface-dwelling mollies has been maintained during the evolution of the cave form. However, only the cave population exhibited a mating preference in darkness. Determination of male body size appears to have been taken over by a non-visual sensory system, probably the lateral line.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2004
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s00265-003-0750-9

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