Evolution of mating systems in coral reef gobies and constraints on mating system plasticity

Hernaman, V., and Munday, P.L. (2007) Evolution of mating systems in coral reef gobies and constraints on mating system plasticity. Coral Reefs, 26 (3). pp. 585-595.

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Social and mating systems can be influenced by the distribution, abundance, and economic defendability of breeding partners and essential resources. Polygyny is predicted where males can economically defend multiple females or essential resources used by females. In contrast, monogamy is predicted where neither sex can monopolise multiple partners, either directly or through resource control, but where one mate is economically defendable. The mating system and reproductive behaviour of five species of coral reef goby were investigated and contrasted with population density and individual mobility. The two most abundant species (Asterropteryx semipunctatus and Istigobius goldmanni) were polygynous. In contrast, the less populous and more widely dispersed epibenthic species (Amblygobius bynoensis, Amblygobius phalaena and Valenciennea muralis) were pair forming and monogamous. All five species had low mobility, mostly remaining within metres (3 epibenthic species) or centimetres (2 cryptobenthic species) of a permanent shelter site. Interspecific differences in the mating system may have been shaped by differences in population density and the ability of reproductive individuals to economically defend breeding partners/sites. However, in a test of mating system plasticity, males of the three monogamous species did not mate polygynously when given the opportunity to do so in experimental manipulations of density and sex ratio. Mate guarding and complex spawning characteristics, which have likely co-evolved with the monogamous mating system, could contribute to mating system inflexibility by making polygynous mating unprofitable for individuals of the pair forming species, even when presented with current-day ecological conditions that usually favour polygyny.

Item ID: 5197
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: mating system plasticity; monogamy; polygyny; paternal care; reproductive behaviour; Gobiidae
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2009 01:45
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060803 Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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