Reproductive control via the threat of eviction in the clown anemonefish

Rueger, T., Barbasch, T.A., Wong, M.Y.L., Srinivasan, M., Jones, G.P., and Buston, P.M. (2018) Reproductive control via the threat of eviction in the clown anemonefish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 285 (1891). 20181295.

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In social groups, high reproductive skew is predicted to arise when the reproductive output of a group is limited, and dominant individuals can suppress subordinate reproductive efforts. Reproductive suppression is often assumed to occur via overt aggression or the threat of eviction. It is unclear, however, whether the threat of eviction alone is sufficient to induce reproductive restraint by subordinates. Here, we test two assumptions of the restraint model of reproductive skew by investigating whether resource limitation generates reproductive competition and whether the threat of eviction leads to reproductive restraint in the clown anemonefish Amphiprion percula. First, we use a feeding experiment to test whether reproduction is resource limited, which would create an incentive for the dominant pair to suppress subordinate reproduction. We show that the number of eggs laid increased in the population over the study period, but the per cent increase in fed groups was more than twice that in unfed groups (205% and 78%, respectively). Second, we use an eviction experiment to test whether the dominant pair evicts mature subordinates, which would create an incentive for the subordinates to forgo reproduction. We show that mature subordinates are seven times more likely to be evicted than immature subordinates of the same size. In summary, we provide experimental support for the assumptions of the restraint model by showing that resource limitation creates reproductive competition and a credible threat of eviction helps explain why subordinates forego reproduction. Transactional models of reproductive skew may apply well to this and other simple systems.

Item ID: 56590
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: reproductive skew, reproductive control, resource limitation, threat of eviction, Amphiprion
Copyright Information: © 2018 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
Funders: University of Wollongong, Boston University, U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2018 07:43
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
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