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The role of sexual harassment in cave and surface dwelling populations of the Atlantic molly, Poecilia mexicana (Poeciliidae, Teleostei).


Plath, M; Parzefall, J; Schlupp, I (2003). The role of sexual harassment in cave and surface dwelling populations of the Atlantic molly, Poecilia mexicana (Poeciliidae, Teleostei). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 54(3):503-309.

Abstract

Sexual coercion is a common behaviour for males trying to compensate for being inferior in male competition and/or female choice. We measured the cost of male sexual harassment for females as reduced feeding time in three populations of the Atlantic molly ( Poecilia mexicana). Of these populations, one originated from a typical river habitat, another from a lightless cave chamber and the third one from a small, milky creek outside the cave. We gave hungry females an opportunity to feed in the presence of either another female or a male. We found the following: (1) male sexual harassment represents a cost in the river dwelling population and both small and large males significantly reduce female feeding time; and (2) sexual harassment was not detected in the other two populations (cave and cave entrance). In the cave molly, small males are at a disadvantage in female choice, but predation by an aquatic heteropteran selects against large male body size.

Sexual coercion is a common behaviour for males trying to compensate for being inferior in male competition and/or female choice. We measured the cost of male sexual harassment for females as reduced feeding time in three populations of the Atlantic molly ( Poecilia mexicana). Of these populations, one originated from a typical river habitat, another from a lightless cave chamber and the third one from a small, milky creek outside the cave. We gave hungry females an opportunity to feed in the presence of either another female or a male. We found the following: (1) male sexual harassment represents a cost in the river dwelling population and both small and large males significantly reduce female feeding time; and (2) sexual harassment was not detected in the other two populations (cave and cave entrance). In the cave molly, small males are at a disadvantage in female choice, but predation by an aquatic heteropteran selects against large male body size.

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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:2003
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s00265-003-0625-0

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