Body size mediates social and environmental effects on nest building behaviour in a fish with paternal care

Topi Kasperi Lehtonen, Kai Lindstrom, Bob B M Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Body size, social setting, and the physical environment can all influence reproductive behaviours, but their interactions are not well understood. Here, we investigated how male body size, male–male competition, and water turbidity influence nest-building behaviour in the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus), a marine fish with exclusive paternal care. We found that environmental and social factors affected the nest characteristics of small and large males differently. In particular, association between male size and the level of nest elaboration (i.e. the amount of sand piled on top of the nest) was positive only under clear water conditions. Similarly, male size and nest entrance size were positively associated only in the absence of competition. Such interactions may, in turn, help to explain the persistence of variation in reproductive behaviours, which—due to their importance in offspring survival—are otherwise expected to be under strong balancing selection
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-706
Number of pages8
JournalOecologia
Volume178
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Body size
  • Eutrophication
  • Interference competition
  • Nesting environment
  • Parental care

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