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Direct mate choice for simultaneous acoustic and visual courtship displays in the damselfish, Dascyllus albisella Pomacentridae


Direct mate choice for simultaneous acoustic and visual courtship displays in the damselfish, Dascyllus albisella Pomacentridae



Environmental Biology of Fishes 96(4): 447-457



ISSN/ISBN: 0378-1909

DOI: 10.1007/s10641-012-0028-z

Acoustic signals are well established as key components of mate selection in terrestrial species, but not in aquatic species. It has long been known that damselfish (Pomacentridae) use a combined visual and acoustic display in their courtship. This study examined several male qualities including individual size, courtship vigor, territory size and complexity, as well as components of the acoustic call including dominant frequency, pulse characteristics and repetition rate. The objective was to determine which male traits were correlated with mating success. Observations made over ten reproductive cycles revealed that female mate choices were not random and that male mating success was correlated with courtship rate (a simultaneous visual and acoustic cue) and the number of neighboring females, but not with male morphological traits, territory quality, or acoustic call structure. These results suggest that females choose mates based on a condition-dependent trait (courtship rate) that advertises quality of paternal care, which supports good parent models of sexual selection, thereby demonstrating the importance of the combined acoustic/visual display for sexual selection in fishes.

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Accession: 036461266

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