Experimental analysis of monogamy in the Caribbean cleaner goby, Gobiosoma evelynae

Harding, Jeffery A., Almany, Glenn, Houck, Lynne D., and Hixon, Mark A. (2003) Experimental analysis of monogamy in the Caribbean cleaner goby, Gobiosoma evelynae. Animal Behaviour, 65 (5). pp. 865-874.

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To investigate factors promoting monogamy, we studied the reproductive behaviour and ecology of the monogamous Caribbean cleaner goby at two sites near St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. We assessed mate fidelity and the amount of time required to acquire a new mate in experimentally widowed males and females. We also measured behavioural responses of pair members and single females to experimentally introduced conspecific intruders of both sexes. Finally, we evaluated the distribution of suitable habitat relative to existing goby territories. We found that pairs often separated due to males abandoning females and moving to a new territory, that most widowed fish soon acquired a new mate, and that there was strong aggression towards large same-sex intruders. We also found an abundance of suitable, unoccupied habitat. We conclude that pairs are maintained by intrasexual aggression that is related to both mate availability and other resources, such as high-quality, food-rich cleaning stations. Combined with observations of frequent pair separation, interterritory male movement, and relatively rapid remating by both sexes, these results suggest a complex mating system that is best classified as serial monogamy.

Item ID: 8512
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8282
Keywords: animal behavior; mating system; reproduction; monogamy; coral reef fish
Funders: Oregon State University Zoology Research Fund, Sigma Xi Society, Lerner-Gray Fund of the American Museum of Natural History, National Science Foundation (USA) grant OCE-00-93976
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2010 04:25
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 25%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060207 Population Ecology @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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