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Variation in behavioural response to oxygen stress by egg-tending males of parapatric fluvial and lacustrine populations of a landlocked goby

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The behavioural response of egg-tending males from parapatric fluvial and lacustrine populations of a landlocked goby Rhinogobius sp. (the orange form) to oxygen stress was compared in laboratory experiments. The natural spawning locations of these populations (rapids of tributary rivers and lakeshore of Lake Biwa, respectively) differ in dissolved oxygen concentration and its variability. Males of both populations spent a longer period of time in fanning behaviour under low dissolved oxygen conditions (4·5–5·0 mg l−1), where >90% of eggs without paternal care died before reaching eyed stage, relative to fully saturated dissolved oxygen conditions (8·0–8·5 mg l−1). Lacustrine males, who occasionally encounter oxygen stress (<2 mg l−1) in their natural habitat, fanned eggs for a longer time period than fluvial males. The time difference in fanning behaviour between the two oxygen conditions was greater for lacustrine than fluvial males. Survival rate in the lower oxygen condition was higher for eggs tended by lacustrine males than those tended by fluvial males, probably due to this difference in fanning activity. These results showed that the response to oxygen stress differs between the two populations and, moreover, as both populations behaved adaptively in responding to the reduction in dissolved oxygen, contiguous habitats may have distinct natural selective pressures. It is suggested that regulation of egg fanning activity is strongly favoured by natural selection in unpredictable environments.

Keywords: Lake Biwa; Rhinogobius goby; dissolved oxygen; egg ventilation; fanning behaviour; intraspecific variation

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Kamitanakami-Hirano, Otsu, Shiga 520-2113, Japan 2: Faculty of Science and Technology, Ryukoku University, Seta-Oe, Otsu, Shiga 520-2194, Japan

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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