Intra- and interspecific behavioural ecology within and between Mollienesia males (sailfin molly Poecilia velifera and shortfin molly P. mexicana) in mangroves of the Yucatán peninsula

In: Behaviour
Omar Domínguez–Castanedo Asociación Mexicana para el Estudio y Conservación de Cyprinodontiformes., Tlalpan, C.P. 14390, CDMX, México

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Ingo Schlupp Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, 730 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, USA

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Throughout their distribution range, sailfin and shortfin mollies of the genus Poecilia inhabit overlapping habitats; however, little is known about its behavioural coexistence. We first describe the ethogram of Poecilia velifera and P. mexicana in a mangrove of Yucatan. Furthermore, we identify behavioural strategies of each size morphotype/species. We describe reproductive, territorial, and cleaning behaviours in two sympatric species of mollies in their natural context, with emphasis of their behavioural interactions and coexistence. Specifically, here we document (i) specific reproductive strategies in male P. velifera morphotypes (large, intermediate-ornamented and ‘cryptic-intermediate’), suggesting that cryptic-intermediate males have advantages that suggest consequences for their reproductive success; (ii) frequent courtship and sexual behaviours from P. mexicana males directed to P. velifera females, that deserve future attention to determine the possible generation of hybrids; and (iii) increased aggressive behaviour and territoriality of P. mexicana relative to those observed in P. velifera.

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