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Turbidity affects association behaviour in male Poecilia latipinna

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Male association preferences in a bisexual‐unisexual species complex were studied in clear and turbid environments. In south and central Texas, where the gynogenetic sexual‐parasite Poecilia formosa lives syntopically with Poecilia latipinna as its sexual host species, association times of P. latipinna males with conspecific sexual and heterospecific asexual females in clear and turbid water were measured sequentially. Turbidity had an influence on male mate association behaviour. Males spent less time with any kind of female stimulus in turbid water. There was no preference for conspecific sexual females, either in turbid water or under clear conditions. Also, origin of males and acclimatization to turbid water had no effect. How turbidity as a source of visual noise might affect communication among individuals and how this environmental factor might contribute to the stability of this sexual‐asexual mating complex in nature are discussed.

Keywords: Poecilia formosa; communication; environmental noise; gynogenesis; male mate choice; turbidity

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: 2006-02-01

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