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Male and female preferences for nest characteristics under paternal care

Pärssinen, Varpu LU ; Kalb, Nadine; Vallon, Martin; Anthes, Nils and Heubel, Katja (2019) In Ecology and Evolution 9(13). p.7780-7791
Abstract

Nests play a critical role for offspring development across the animal kingdom. Nest quality may contribute to the builder's extended phenotype and serve as an ornament during mate choice. We examined male and female nest choice in the common goby (Pomatoschistus microps), a benthic fish with male-only parental care where females deposit eggs in male-built nests. Using prebuilt nest models, we independently manipulated two candidate nest quality traits: (a) nest entrance width with a role in oxygen ventilation, and (b) extent of sand cover with a role in camouflage. In simultaneous choice trials, male gobies exhibited no preference for any nest model type. This suggests that initial characteristics of a nesting substrate have minor... (More)

Nests play a critical role for offspring development across the animal kingdom. Nest quality may contribute to the builder's extended phenotype and serve as an ornament during mate choice. We examined male and female nest choice in the common goby (Pomatoschistus microps), a benthic fish with male-only parental care where females deposit eggs in male-built nests. Using prebuilt nest models, we independently manipulated two candidate nest quality traits: (a) nest entrance width with a role in oxygen ventilation, and (b) extent of sand cover with a role in camouflage. In simultaneous choice trials, male gobies exhibited no preference for any nest model type. This suggests that initial characteristics of a nesting substrate have minor importance for males, which usually remodel the nest. Females were given a choice between two males occupying either entrance- or cover-manipulated nests. The same pair of males was then exposed to a second female but now with alternated nest types assigned. Most females were consistent in choosing the same, typically the heavier male of the two regardless of nest properties. However, the females that chose the same nest regardless of the male preferred low over high sand coverage and narrow over wide nest entrance. Our results indicate that females base their mating decision on a combination of male phenotype and nest traits. While we found no indication that females are attracted to highly decorated nests, our study is the first in fishes to disentangle a preference for narrow (and thus more protective) nest entrances independent of nest coverage.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
extended phenotype, mate choice, multiple cues, nest quality, parental investment, sexual conflict
in
Ecology and Evolution
volume
9
issue
13
pages
12 pages
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85069445627
ISSN
2045-7758
DOI
10.1002/ece3.5363
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
42286ca3-de3f-4c60-8a2c-cb7103ee11e1
date added to LUP
2019-08-07 09:08:02
date last changed
2019-08-28 04:57:49
@article{42286ca3-de3f-4c60-8a2c-cb7103ee11e1,
  abstract     = {<p>Nests play a critical role for offspring development across the animal kingdom. Nest quality may contribute to the builder's extended phenotype and serve as an ornament during mate choice. We examined male and female nest choice in the common goby (Pomatoschistus microps), a benthic fish with male-only parental care where females deposit eggs in male-built nests. Using prebuilt nest models, we independently manipulated two candidate nest quality traits: (a) nest entrance width with a role in oxygen ventilation, and (b) extent of sand cover with a role in camouflage. In simultaneous choice trials, male gobies exhibited no preference for any nest model type. This suggests that initial characteristics of a nesting substrate have minor importance for males, which usually remodel the nest. Females were given a choice between two males occupying either entrance- or cover-manipulated nests. The same pair of males was then exposed to a second female but now with alternated nest types assigned. Most females were consistent in choosing the same, typically the heavier male of the two regardless of nest properties. However, the females that chose the same nest regardless of the male preferred low over high sand coverage and narrow over wide nest entrance. Our results indicate that females base their mating decision on a combination of male phenotype and nest traits. While we found no indication that females are attracted to highly decorated nests, our study is the first in fishes to disentangle a preference for narrow (and thus more protective) nest entrances independent of nest coverage.</p>},
  author       = {Pärssinen, Varpu and Kalb, Nadine and Vallon, Martin and Anthes, Nils and Heubel, Katja},
  issn         = {2045-7758},
  keyword      = {extended phenotype,mate choice,multiple cues,nest quality,parental investment,sexual conflict},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {13},
  pages        = {7780--7791},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Ecology and Evolution},
  title        = {Male and female preferences for nest characteristics under paternal care},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5363},
  volume       = {9},
  year         = {2019},
}