Clonal fish are more aggressive to distant relatives in a low resource environment

in Behaviour
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Kin selection explains conditions under which closely related individuals should be less antagonistic towards one another. One benefit of kin selection is a reduction in aggression towards kin in various social contexts, such as foraging. In the gynogenetic Amazon molly, females have been shown to differentiate between clone types, preferring to associate with clonal sisters to non-sisters, regulating their aggressive behaviours accordingly. We ask if Amazon mollies in resource-limited environments retain the ability to regulate aggressive behaviours according to relatedness. We found that focal females regulated their aggressive behaviours depending on partner type. Females spent more time behaving aggressively towards the heterospecific females than either of the clonal lineages, and towards non-sister clones compared to clonal sisters. We are able to confirm that kin discrimination is maintained, resulting in females showing more aggression towards heterospecific females and non-sister clones in a food-limited environment, and that this aggression scales with relatedness.

Clonal fish are more aggressive to distant relatives in a low resource environment

in Behaviour


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    The amount of time (s) females spent behaving aggressively (A), the number of bites (B) and tail beats given to partner females (C). The time focal females spent behaving aggressively was higher when paired with either a heterospecific female (yellow) or a non-sister clone (red) when compared to clonal sisters (blue). Focal females gave more bites to heterospecific females and non-sister clones and less to clonal sisters, while they performed more tail beats to heterospecific females.

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    The effect size (Cohen’s d) found between the aggression females gave towards theirs clonal sister to that given to non-sister clones.

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    The average ± SD body size of the focal Amazon mollies, the heterospecific females, clonal sister and non-sister clones.

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