We investigated male parasitic spawning in a protected natural population of Mediterranean damselfish. Chromis chromis nested in colonies, inside which males showed a high variability in mating success. Our field observations indicate that the egg batches obtained by the most successful fish were five times bigger than the ones obtained by the less successful fish and many males never received ovipositions. On the other hand, reproductive parasitism was a common tactic within the colony. Successful nesting males sneaked into their neighbours' nests depending on the amount of eggs in their nest, with small clutch size inducing the males to parasitic reproduction. Males failing to receive egg depositions on their nests showed a significantly higher parasitism rate than successful males. Non-territorial males occupied stations in the water column above the breeding grounds and whenever the opportunity arose, they disrupted spawning in progress, stealing copulation with females. We observed that the likelihood of males being parasitized by sneakers was not correlated with the size of their own clutch; on the contrary, it depended both on the number of neighbouring nests and on the number of neighbouring males with barren nests (i.e. unsuccessful males). No correlation was found between parasitic behaviour and male size, suggesting males may switch between spawning in their own and in their neighbour's nests depending on mating opportunity. The hypothesis that colonial nesting facilitates parasitic reproduction is here discussed.

Colonial nesting and the importance of the brood size in male parasitic reproduction of the Mediterranean damselfish Chromis chromis (Pisces: Pomacentridae)

Picciulin M.;
2004

Abstract

We investigated male parasitic spawning in a protected natural population of Mediterranean damselfish. Chromis chromis nested in colonies, inside which males showed a high variability in mating success. Our field observations indicate that the egg batches obtained by the most successful fish were five times bigger than the ones obtained by the less successful fish and many males never received ovipositions. On the other hand, reproductive parasitism was a common tactic within the colony. Successful nesting males sneaked into their neighbours' nests depending on the amount of eggs in their nest, with small clutch size inducing the males to parasitic reproduction. Males failing to receive egg depositions on their nests showed a significantly higher parasitism rate than successful males. Non-territorial males occupied stations in the water column above the breeding grounds and whenever the opportunity arose, they disrupted spawning in progress, stealing copulation with females. We observed that the likelihood of males being parasitized by sneakers was not correlated with the size of their own clutch; on the contrary, it depended both on the number of neighbouring nests and on the number of neighbouring males with barren nests (i.e. unsuccessful males). No correlation was found between parasitic behaviour and male size, suggesting males may switch between spawning in their own and in their neighbour's nests depending on mating opportunity. The hypothesis that colonial nesting facilitates parasitic reproduction is here discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3718591
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