Male Choice in the Stream-Anadromous Stickleback Complex

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jennifer Chou (Creator)
Nicole Frey (Creator)
Jess Greene (Creator)
Nick Hamele (Creator)
Leia McAleavey (Creator)
Jeffrey S. McKinnon (Creator)
Windi Paulson (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Studies of mating preferences and pre-mating reproductive isolation have often focused on females, but the potential importance of male preferences is increasingly appreciated. We investigated male behavior in the context of reproductive isolation between divergent anadromous and stream-resident populations of threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, using size-manipulated females of both ecotypes. Specifically, we asked if male courtship preferences are present, and if they are based on relative body size, non-size aspects of ecotype, or other traits. Because male behaviors were correlated with each other, we conducted a principal components analysis on the correlations and ran subsequent analyses on the principal components. The two male ecotypes differed in overall behavioral frequencies, with stream-resident males exhibiting consistently more vigorous and positive courtship than anadromous males, and an otherwise aggressive behavior playing a more positive role in anadromous than stream-resident courtship. We observed more vigorous courtship toward smaller females by (relatively small) stream-resident males and the reverse pattern for (relatively large) anadromous males. Thus size-assortative male courtship preferences may contribute to reproductive isolation in this system, although preferences are far from absolute. We found little indication of males responding preferentially to females of their own ecotype independent of body size.

Additional Information

PLoS ONE; 7:6 p. 1-8
Language: English
Date: 2012
Decision making, British Columbia, Salmon, Japan, Freshwater fish, Sticklebacks

Email this document to

This item references:

TitleLocation & LinkType of Relationship
Male Choice in the Stream-Anadromous Stickleback Complex described resource references, cites, or otherwise points to the related resource.