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Genetic mating patterns studied in pools with manipulated nest site availability in two populations of Pomatoschistus minutus

Journal article
Authors A. Singer
Charlotta Kvarnemo
K. Lindström
Ola Svensson
Published in Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 19
Issue 5
Pages 1641-1650
ISSN 1010-061X
Publication year 2006
Published at Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology
Pages 1641-1650
Language en
Keywords alternative mating tactics, baltic sea, extra pair paternity, nest availability, piracy, sand goby, sneaking, sperm competition, strategies, extra-pair paternity, alternative reproductive tactics, sexual selection, sand goby, sperm competition, common goby, poecilia-reticulata, rhodeus-sericeus, predation risk, female mimicry
Subject categories Marine ecology, Ethology and behavioural ecology


Pomatoschistus minutus show paternal care in a resource defence mating system. We investigated the effect of nest-site availability on parasitic spawning. Each experimental pool contained four potentially nest-building males, four females and nests-sites in shortage (2) or excess (6). Both treatments were conducted in two populations; one with natural nest-sites in excess, one with a nest-site shortage. Microsatellite-DNA revealed that all nest-holders had fertilized most of the eggs they tended. Yet, 35% of the nests contained eggs fertilized by another male and 14.4% of the males had performed parasitic spawning. There was no site or treatment effect. Several females spawned in two nests, which coincided with parasitic spawnings, suggesting a cost to the nest-holder in terms of lost mating success. Nest-holders with and without eggs and non-nesting males all spawned parasitically, generating a significantly lower opportunity for sexual selection compared to if there had been no parasitic spawning.

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