Pair bond endurance promotes cooperative food defense and inhibits conflict in coral reef butterflyfish

Nowicki, Jessica P., Walker, Stefan P.W., Coker, Darren J., Hoey, Andrew S., Nicolet, Katia J., and Pratchett, Morgan S. (2018) Pair bond endurance promotes cooperative food defense and inhibits conflict in coral reef butterflyfish. Scientific Reports, 8. 6295.

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Abstract

Pair bonding is generally linked to monogamous mating systems, where the reproductive benefits of extended mate guarding and/or of bi-parental care are considered key adaptive functions. However, in some species, including coral reef butterflyfishes (f. Chaetodonitidae), pair bonding occurs in sexually immature and homosexual partners, and in the absence of parental care, suggesting there must be non-reproductive adaptive benefits of pair bonding. Here, we examined whether pair bonding butterflyfishes cooperate in defense of food, conferring direct benefits to one or both partners. We found that pairs of Chaetodon lunulatus and C. baronessa use contrasting cooperative strategies. In C. lunulatus, both partners mutually defend their territory, while in C. baronessa, males prioritize territory defence; conferring improvements in feeding and energy reserves in both sexes relative to solitary counterparts. We further demonstrate that partner fidelity contributes to this function by showing that re-pairing invokes intra-pair conflict and inhibits cooperatively-derived feeding benefits, and that partner endurance is required for these costs to abate. Overall, our results suggest that in butterflyfishes, pair bonding enhances cooperative defense of prey resources, ultimately benefiting both partners by improving food resource acquisition and energy reserves.

Item ID: 53499
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 05:28
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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