The role of sex ratios and resource availability on the pre-mating behavior of a monogamous fish

Behavioural Processes
A Cleveland-Roberts, M Itzkowitz


Convict cichlid fish (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus) are one of the few monogamous species where the female appears more colorful than the male. We examined whether this sexual dimorphism was reflected in a female-biased actual sex ratio (ASR) and whether convict cichlid females would exhibit behavioral traits typified in monogamous males when they possessed the extravagant colors and/or morphology. Our field observations revealed that females are marginally, but not significantly, more abundant than males but they did initiate more intersexual social interactions (i.e. approach behavior) than males. They also showed more intrasexual aggression. Furthermore, males more commonly chased females rather than vice versa. Our laboratory experiment also indicated that differences in intrasexual aggression were not related to differences in the ASR but did appear with the addition of a breeding site. Thus, while intrasexual competition was more frequently observed between females in the field it was probably related to the availability of breeding sites rather than our estimates of the ASR.


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Apr 18, 2002·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Hanna Kokko, Rufus A Johnstone
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