Association behaviour of the self-fertilizing Kryptolebias marmoratus (Poey): the influence of microhabitat use on the potential for a complex mating system
Preliminary observations were conducted to identify conspicuous body postures and movements of males and hermaphrodites in the mangrove killifish Kryptolebias marmoratus. These behaviours were used quantitatively to examine the social interactions for experimental pairings of K. marmoratus of different sexual states (i.e. simultaneous hermaphrodite and male) in an aquarium with an open-water area and simulated crab burrows. This allowed observation of behaviours that could not be observed in the field. Kryptolebias marmoratus, regardless of sexual state and experimental treatment, spent 40% of the time in the burrow. Hermaphrodites exhibited a preference for associating with males rather than other hermaphrodites. The observed complexity of displayed behaviours and interactions between paired conspecifics indicate that K. marmoratus has a rich repertoire of social behaviour not predicted for a strictly selfing species. Also, land crab burrows play an important role in their social interactions.