Does female nuptial coloration reflect egg carotenoids and clutch quality in the Two-Spotted Goby (Gobiusculus flavescens, Gobiidae)?

Svensson, P. A., Pélabon, C., Blount, J. D., Surai, P. F. and Amundsen, T. 2006, Does female nuptial coloration reflect egg carotenoids and clutch quality in the Two-Spotted Goby (Gobiusculus flavescens, Gobiidae)?, Functional ecology, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 689-698.

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Title Does female nuptial coloration reflect egg carotenoids and clutch quality in the Two-Spotted Goby (Gobiusculus flavescens, Gobiidae)?
Author(s) Svensson, P. A.
Pélabon, C.
Blount, J. D.
Surai, P. F.
Amundsen, T.
Journal name Functional ecology
Volume number 20
Issue number 4
Start page 689
End page 698
Publisher Wiley - Blackwell Publishing
Place of publication Oxford, U. K.
Publication date 2006-08
ISSN 0269-8463
1365-2435
Keyword(s) clutch size
female ornament
fish
hatching success
larval survival
Summary Summary

1 -
Carotenoid-based ornamentation has often been suggested to signal mate quality, and species with such ornaments have frequently been used in studies of sexual selection.

2 - Female Gobiusculus flavescens (Two-Spotted Goby) develop colourful orange bellies during the breeding season. Belly coloration varies among mature females, and previous work has shown that nest-holding males prefer females with more colourful bellies. Because males invest heavily in offspring during incubation, the evolution of this preference can be explained if colourful females provide males with eggs of higher quality.

3 -
We tested this hypothesis by allowing males to spawn with ‘colourful’ and ‘drab’ females and comparing parameters including egg carotenoid concentration, clutch size, hatchability and larval viability between groups. We also investigated relationships between egg carotenoid concentration and clutch quality parameters.

4 - Eggs from colourful females had significantly higher concentrations of total carotenoids than drab females, and photographically quantified belly coloration was a good predictor of egg carotenoid concentration.

5 - Colourful females produced slightly larger clutches, but female belly coloration was not related to any measure of clutch quality. In addition, there were no significant relationships between egg carotenoids and clutch quality. Females with high levels of egg carotenoids spawned slightly earlier, however, possibly because they were more ready to spawn or because of male mate choice.

6 - Our results call into question the generality of a causal link between egg carotenoids and offspring quality.
Language eng
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060603 Animal Physiology - Systems
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, The Authors
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30038904

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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