Protogyny in a tropical damselfish: females queue for future benefit

McCormick, Mark I. (2016) Protogyny in a tropical damselfish: females queue for future benefit. PeerJ, 4. e2198. pp. 1-26.

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Abstract

Membership of the group is a balance between the benefits associated with group living and the cost of socially constrained growth and breeding opportunities, but the costs and benefits are seldom examined. The goal of the present study was to explore the trade-offs associated with group living for a sex-changing, potentially protogynous coral reef fish, the Ambon damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis. Extensive sampling showed that the species exhibits resource defence polygyny, where dominant males guard a nest site that is visited by females. P. amboinensis have a longevity of about 6.5 years on the northern Great Barrier Reef. While the species can change sex consistent with being a protogynous hermaphrodite, it is unclear the extent to which the species uses this capability. Social groups are comprised of one reproductive male, 1-7 females and a number of juveniles. Females live in a linear dominance hierarchy, with the male being more aggressive to the beta-female than the alpha-female, who exhibits lower levels of ovarian cortisol. Surveys and a tagging study indicated that groups were stable for at least three months. A passive integrated transponder tag study showed that males spawn with females from their own group, but also females from neighbouring groups. In situ behavioural observations found that alpha-females have priority of access to the nest site that the male guarded, and access to higher quality foraging areas. Male removal studies suggest that the alpha-females can change sex to take over from the male when the position becomes available, Examination of otolith microstructure showed that those individuals which change sex to males have different embryonic characteristics at hatching, suggesting that success may involve a component that is endowed. The parently endowed. The relative importance of parental effects and social organisation in affecting the importance of female queuing is yet to be studied, but will likely depend on the strength of social control by the dominant members of the group.

Item ID: 45555
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2167-8359
Keywords: Pomacentrus amboinensis, Ambon damselfish, behaviour, carry-over effect, mate competition, dominance hierarchies, cortisol, parental effects, stress, PIT tag
Additional Information:

Copyright 2016 McCormick. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2016 07:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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