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A link between sound producing musculature and mating success in Atlantic cod

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Individual variability in the mating success of male Atlantic cod Gadus morhua was quantified within an aggregation (n= 59) breeding undisturbed in a large (684 m3) mesocosm tank. Observational and morphometric data were examined to assess the degree to which this mating variation could be explained by aspects of morphology, condition and spawning behaviour. The number of ventral mounts initiated (i.e. mating success) was highly variable; most mounts were initiated by a very small percentage of available males. The significant correlate of male mating success was mass of the sound producing musculature, i.e. drumming muscles. Neither body size, condition, pelvic and median fin morphology nor aggression influenced the number of ventral mounts initiated by a male. The present study suggests a possible link between sound production and mating success in Atlantic cod.

Keywords: Gadidae; acoustic communication; broadcast spawning; drumming muscles; mating system; reproductive success

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2007.01713.x

Affiliations: Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4J1 Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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