Male mating behavior and costs of sexual harassment for females in cavernicolous and extremophile populations of Atlantic mollies ( Poecilia mexicana ) Martin Plath 1,2,3,4) ( 1 Unit of Animal Ecology, Department of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Maulbeerallee 1, 14469 Potsdam, Germany; 2 Unit of Evolutionary Biology and Systematic Zoology, Department of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany; 3 Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 730 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, USA) (Accepted: 7 October 2007) Summary The Atlantic molly Poecilia mexicana inhabits a variety of different habitat types, some of which
PREDATION ON A CAVE FISH BY THE FRESHWATER CRAB AVOTRICHODACTYLUS BIDENS (BOTT, 1969) (BRACHYURA, TRICHODACTYLIDAE) IN A MEXICAN SULFUR CAVE BY SEBASTIAN KLAUS 1,2 ) and MARTIN PLATH 1,3 ) 1 ) Department of Ecology and Evolution, J.W. Goethe University Frankfurt, Siesmayerstrasse 70A, D-60054 Frankfurt am Main, Germany ABSTRACT Using prey-choice experiments, we demonstrate that the freshwater crab Avotrichodactylus bidens (Bott, 1969) preys on cave-dwelling fish ( Poecilia mexicana Steindachner, 1863) in a sulfidic southern Mexican cave, the Cueva del Azufre, and thus may be one of the top predators in this subterranean ecosystem. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG Mittels Beutewahlexperimenten können wir zeigen,
Male guppies ( Poecilia reticulata ) adjust their mate choice behaviour to the presence of an audience Amber M. Makowicz 1,3) , Martin Plath 2) & Ingo Schlupp 1) ( 1 Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 730 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, USA; 2 Department of Ecology and Evolution, J.W. Goethe University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) (Accepted: 14 July 2010) Summary In recent years analyzing animal behaviour in light of the social environment has become widely accepted. Especially many mating interactions do not happen in privacy, but in a public arena, raising the question of how
A visual audience effect in a cavefish Martin Plath 1,4) , Dennis Blum 2) , Ralph Tiedemann 2) & Ingo Schlupp 3) ( 1 Unit of Animal Ecology, Department of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Maulbeerallee 1, 14469 Potsdam, Germany; 2 Unit of Evolutionary Biology and Systematic Zoology, Department of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24–25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany; 3 Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 730 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, USA) (Accepted: 17 January 2008) Summary Audience effects occur when an observing (by-standing) animal influences the behaviour of an observed individual. A recent study
Animals colonizing lightless subterranean habitats can no longer rely on visual signals to find mating partners. In the present study, we investigated the ability of males to recognize females in two surface and a cave dwelling population of a livebearing fish, Poecilia mexicana. In surface populations males discriminated between sexes with visual plus non-visual cues available and with visual stimuli only. In the cave form the ability to discriminate with solely visual stimuli is lacking. In all three populations, males did not recognize females in darkness (infrared observations), suggesting that sex recognition via far-field communication is lacking in surface and cave dwelling P.mexicana. Different preferences in large and small males to stay near a female or a male stimulus fish probably reflect differences concerning a trade-off between sexual and aggressive behaviour.
We examined chemical communication in male and female European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis). In simultaneous binary choice tests, a focal animal was given a choice between pheromones from a conspecific and a choice chamber containing untreated water. Females did not show a preference, both when male and when female stimuli were presented. On the contrary, males preferred the odor of a female over untreated water, suggesting that males actively search for females. The strength of preference was positively correlated with the body size difference between the female and the focal male, indicating that males prefer to mate with larger females. Female fecundity is positively correlated with female size in E. orbicularis, which may account for male choosiness. No overall preference for the stimulus animal was observed when males were presented cues from another male. However, the strength of preference was negatively correlated with the difference in body size. Males avoided large males, but oriented towards smaller stimulus males. This reflects that males form dominance hierarchies, where large males aggressively attack smaller ones. Far-range chemical communication probably enables males to minimize the risk of costly aggressive interactions. This is, to our knowledge, the first study on the role of chemical cues for inter and intrasexual communication in the European pond turtle.
Age-dependent mating tactics in male bushbuck ( Tragelaphus scriptus ) Ann Apio 1,2,3) , Martin Plath 2,4) , Ralph Tiedemann 2) & Torsten Wronski 5) ( 1 Makerere University, Department of Veterinary Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda; 2 Unit of Evolutionary Biology and Systematic Zoology, Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany; 4 Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 730 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, USA; 5 Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum, Universität Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King Platz, 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany) (Accepted: 28 March 2007) Summary We
Character displacement is commonly observed when species occur in secondary contact zones and traits related to resource competition or reproduction diverge in sympatry. However, few studies have considered the factors determining and delimiting the direction of character evolution in this context. We studied displacement in advertisement calls in two species of hylid frogs from allopatric and sympatric populations, both of which call with similar frequencies but differ substantially in temporal parameters. We found asymmetrical character displacement in sympatry, as only Scinax madeirae (but not S. fuscomarginatus) repeatedly showed displacement. Instead of diverging in already existing differences in temporal characters, S. madeirae showed character displacement for frequency-related characters. We explored possible reasons for this specific pattern concerning the displaced characters and tested if socio-functional constraints in specific call parameters are responsible for the shift of only spectral parameters in that species. Finally, we argue that the simultaneous action of ecological and reproductive character displacement, or alternatively, a short-term behavioral response for the same reason (avoidance of hybridization) could explain the pattern. The present study identifies a set of new hypotheses that will stimulate future research on mechanisms of mate recognition and behavioral responses.
Sexual selection can lead to sexual dimorphism, where elaborated traits used in mate attraction or weaponry are more expressed in the male sex. The degree of sexual dimorphism, however, is known to vary even among closely related taxa. Here we examined sexual dimorphism in horn length and three measures related to body size (body weight, shoulder height, and neck circumference) in four gazelle taxa, representing at least three species, i.e. Dorcas gazelle (G. dorcas), Sand gazelle (G. subgutturosa marica) and Mountain gazelle (G. gazella). The latter is represented by two distinctive phenotypes maintained and bred at the King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre in Saudi Arabia. We describe marked differences in sexual dimorphism among taxa. For example, the difference in sexually dimorphic horn development was driven primarily by females exhibiting pronounced differences in horn development. We discuss how divergent mating systems, and group sizes affect these differences among the examined taxa, with more competition in larger groups probably promoting the evolution of larger horns in females, thereby leading to less sexual dimorphism.
Female mating preferences in blind cave tetras Astyanax fasciatus (Characidae, Teleostei) Martin Plath 1,2,3) , Matthias Rohde 4) , Thekla Schröder 5) , Angelika Taebel-Hellwig 5) & Ingo Schlupp 2) ( 1 Abteilung für Evolutionsbiologie/Spezielle Zoologie, Institut für Biochemie/Biologie der Universität Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-26, 14476 Potsdam, Germany; 2 Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 730 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, USA; 4 Department Biologie II, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Planegg-Martinsried, Germany; 5 Universität Hamburg, Biozentrum Grindel, Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie, Martin-Luther-King Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany) (Accepted: 6 September 2005) Summary The Mexican tetra Astyanax fasciatus has evolved a variety of more or