Strategic male signalling effort in a desert-dwelling fish

Wong, Bob B. M. and Svensson, Andreas P. 2009, Strategic male signalling effort in a desert-dwelling fish, Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 543-549, doi: 10.1007/s00265-008-0689-y.

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Title Strategic male signalling effort in a desert-dwelling fish
Author(s) Wong, Bob B. M.
Svensson, Andreas P.
Journal name Behavioral ecology and sociobiology
Volume number 63
Issue number 4
Start page 543
End page 549
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publication date 2009
ISSN 0340-5443
Keyword(s) male mate choice
previous female effect
sequential mate choice
sexual selection
signal honesty
Summary Males often use elaborate courtship displays to attract females for mating. Much attention, in this regard, has been focused on trying to understand the causes and consequences of signal variation among males. Far less, by contrast, is known about within-individual variation in signal expression and, in particular, the extent to which males may be able to strategically adjust their signalling output to try to maximise their reproductive returns. Here, we experimentally investigated male courtship effort in a fish, the Australian desert goby, Chlamydogobius eremius. When offered a simultaneous choice between a large and a small female, male gobies spent significantly more time associating with, and courting, the former, probably because larger females are also more fecund. Male signalling patterns were also investigated under a sequential choice scenario, with females presented one at a time. When first offered a female, male courtship was not affected by female size. However, males adjusted their courtship effort towards a second female depending on the size of the female encountered previously. In particular, males that were first offered a large female significantly reduced their courtship effort when presented with a subsequent, smaller, female. Our findings suggest that males may be able to respond adaptively to differences in female quality, and strategically adjust their signalling effort accordingly.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s00265-008-0689-y
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Springer-Verlag
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