Impact Assessing female mate choice in a color polymorphic cichlid fish: Does time spent with a male predict female spawning decisions?

Hailey Hartman, Peter Dijkstra

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

In many animal species, conspicuous signals in males can influence female mate choice decisions. Measuring female mate choice is often based on whoever a female spends more time with when given a choice. However, time spent may not accurately predict with whom the female spawned. Therefore, we captured live spawning videos and compared against time females spent with a given male to quantify the predictive power of time spent on final mate preference. Males in the cichlid Astatotilapia burtoni are yellow or blue, and we tested which females prefer using a choice test. We divided a tank into three compartments using clear, plastic barriers with holes small enough that only the female could swim through. A size matched blue and yellow male were housed on each end of the tank and a female in the middle. Using continual video footage, we determined with whom the female spawned. We then tested who the female spent more time with by quantifying where the female was every 5 minutes over 24 hours prior to spawning. Females spent more time with blue and ultimately also spawned more often with blue males. However, to our surprise, time spent with was not an accurate predictor for spawning since only 16 out of 28 females (57%) spent more time with the male they ended spawning with. These findings demonstrate that time spent is a decent indicator of overall mate preference, however not a good predictor of who a given female ends up spawning with.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Nov 4 2021
EventBiology undergraduate research symposium - CMU
Duration: Nov 4 2021Nov 4 2021

Conference

ConferenceBiology undergraduate research symposium
Period11/4/2111/4/21

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