Aggressive desert goby males also court more, independent of the physiological demands of salinity

Topi K. Lehtonen, P. Andreas Svensson, Bob B.M. Wong

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Both between- and within-individual variation in behaviour can be important in determining mating opportunities and reproductive outcomes. Such behavioural variability can be induced by environmental conditions, especially if individuals vary in their tolerance levels or resource allocation patterns. We tested the effects of exposure to different salinity levels on male investment into two important components of mating success-intrasexual aggression and intersexual courtship-in a fish with a resource defence mating system, the desert goby, Chlamydogobius eremius. We found that males that were more aggressive to rivals also exhibited higher rates of courtship displays towards females. Contrary to predictions, this positive relationship, and the consistency of the two behaviours, were not affected by the salinity treatment, despite the physiological costs that high salinity imposes on the species. Moreover, over the entire data-set, there was only a marginally non-significant tendency for males to show higher levels of aggression and courtship in low, than high, salinity. The positive correlation between male aggression and courtship, independent of the physiological demands of the environment, suggests that males are not inclined to make contrasting resource investments into these two key reproductive behaviours. Instead, in this relatively euryhaline freshwater species, typical investment into current reproductive behaviours can occur under a range of different salinity conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9352
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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