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Female ornamentation and egg carotenoids of six sympatric gobies

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Belly colouration, gonad carotenoid concentration and skin transparency were quantified in gravid Gobiusculus flavescens, as well as in females of five sympatric gobies where belly ornamentation has not been described. Although G. flavescens females did, indeed, have far more colourful bellies than the other species, this could only in part be explained by a high concentration of total gonad carotenoids. Comparable, or occasionally higher, carotenoid levels were found in the gonads of other species. Instead, the unusual ornamentation of G. flavescens arises from a unique combination of carotenoid-rich gonads and a highly transparent abdominal skin.

Keywords: Aphia minuta; Gobius niger; Pomatoschistus microps; Pomatoschistus minutus; Pomatoschistus pictus; sexual selection

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Ecology and Conservation, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Penryn, TR10 9EZ, U.K. 2: Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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