Egg-mimicry as a mating strategy in the fantail darter, Etheostoma flabellare: females prefer males with eggs

Roland A. Knapp, Robert Craig Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

In some species of fishes with paternal care, females prefer to spawn with males already defending eggs. Such female preference appears to have resulted in adoption of unrelated eggs as a male mating strategy in several species. Page and Swofford (1984) proposed that such female preference may have also resulted in the evolution of male egg-mimics in several species of darters (Percidae); however, their hypothesis has not been tested. We examined female preference in the fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare) and found that females preferred males with eggs over males without eggs, and males with egg-mimics over males without egg-mimics. Thus it appears that female preference for males already guarding eggs may have led to the evolution of specialized egg-mimicking morphology in males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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