Competitor size, male mating success and mate choice in eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki

Isobel Booksmythe, Patricia R.Y. Backwell, Michael D. Jennions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Males usually compete for mates but, by choosing a favourable social environment (e.g. avoiding stronger competitors), males might increase their reproductive success. We first tested whether the mate choice of male eastern mosquitofish depended on the size of potential competitors. In two-choice trials, focal males preferred to associate with a group of large males over a group of small males. However, when both stimulus groups also contained females, focal males associated equally often with the group with large males and the group with small males. We then quantified the effect of competitor size on the relative mating success (proportion of all mating attempts) of males competing for access to a female. In mating trials, the relative mating success of focal males increased with focal male size. In addition, focal males had higher mating success when competing in a group of small males than a group of large males. We suggest that the benefits of associating with small male competitors in a mating context (greater mating success) are balanced by other benefits that have led to a general preference for associating with larger males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-375
Number of pages5
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume85
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Eastern mosquitofish
  • Gambusia holbrooki
  • Mate choice
  • Mate competition
  • Social context

Cite this

Booksmythe, Isobel ; Backwell, Patricia R.Y. ; Jennions, Michael D. / Competitor size, male mating success and mate choice in eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki. In: Animal Behaviour. 2013 ; Vol. 85, No. 2. pp. 371-375.
@article{417109726a9446b3aeb81452c99c6911,
title = "Competitor size, male mating success and mate choice in eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki",
abstract = "Males usually compete for mates but, by choosing a favourable social environment (e.g. avoiding stronger competitors), males might increase their reproductive success. We first tested whether the mate choice of male eastern mosquitofish depended on the size of potential competitors. In two-choice trials, focal males preferred to associate with a group of large males over a group of small males. However, when both stimulus groups also contained females, focal males associated equally often with the group with large males and the group with small males. We then quantified the effect of competitor size on the relative mating success (proportion of all mating attempts) of males competing for access to a female. In mating trials, the relative mating success of focal males increased with focal male size. In addition, focal males had higher mating success when competing in a group of small males than a group of large males. We suggest that the benefits of associating with small male competitors in a mating context (greater mating success) are balanced by other benefits that have led to a general preference for associating with larger males.",
keywords = "Eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki, Mate choice, Mate competition, Social context",
author = "Isobel Booksmythe and Backwell, {Patricia R.Y.} and Jennions, {Michael D.}",
year = "2013",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.11.009",
language = "English",
volume = "85",
pages = "371--375",
journal = "Animal Behaviour",
issn = "0003-3472",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "2",

}

Competitor size, male mating success and mate choice in eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki. / Booksmythe, Isobel; Backwell, Patricia R.Y.; Jennions, Michael D.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 85, No. 2, 01.02.2013, p. 371-375.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Competitor size, male mating success and mate choice in eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki

AU - Booksmythe, Isobel

AU - Backwell, Patricia R.Y.

AU - Jennions, Michael D.

PY - 2013/2/1

Y1 - 2013/2/1

N2 - Males usually compete for mates but, by choosing a favourable social environment (e.g. avoiding stronger competitors), males might increase their reproductive success. We first tested whether the mate choice of male eastern mosquitofish depended on the size of potential competitors. In two-choice trials, focal males preferred to associate with a group of large males over a group of small males. However, when both stimulus groups also contained females, focal males associated equally often with the group with large males and the group with small males. We then quantified the effect of competitor size on the relative mating success (proportion of all mating attempts) of males competing for access to a female. In mating trials, the relative mating success of focal males increased with focal male size. In addition, focal males had higher mating success when competing in a group of small males than a group of large males. We suggest that the benefits of associating with small male competitors in a mating context (greater mating success) are balanced by other benefits that have led to a general preference for associating with larger males.

AB - Males usually compete for mates but, by choosing a favourable social environment (e.g. avoiding stronger competitors), males might increase their reproductive success. We first tested whether the mate choice of male eastern mosquitofish depended on the size of potential competitors. In two-choice trials, focal males preferred to associate with a group of large males over a group of small males. However, when both stimulus groups also contained females, focal males associated equally often with the group with large males and the group with small males. We then quantified the effect of competitor size on the relative mating success (proportion of all mating attempts) of males competing for access to a female. In mating trials, the relative mating success of focal males increased with focal male size. In addition, focal males had higher mating success when competing in a group of small males than a group of large males. We suggest that the benefits of associating with small male competitors in a mating context (greater mating success) are balanced by other benefits that have led to a general preference for associating with larger males.

KW - Eastern mosquitofish

KW - Gambusia holbrooki

KW - Mate choice

KW - Mate competition

KW - Social context

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84873076537&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.11.009

DO - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.11.009

M3 - Article

VL - 85

SP - 371

EP - 375

JO - Animal Behaviour

JF - Animal Behaviour

SN - 0003-3472

IS - 2

ER -