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Alternative life histories in Xiphophorus multilineatus: evidence for different ages at sexual maturity and growth responses in the wild

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In order to examine potential trade-offs in alternative life histories of the high-backed pygmy swordtail Xiphophorus multilineatus, otoliths were used from wild-caught males to determine if sneaker males had the advantage of maturing earlier in natural environments. The sneakers matured significantly earlier than courters, but there was no difference among the three courter variants. In addition, analyses suggested that the effect of the pituitary locus on size at sexual maturity and growth rates was a consequence of age at sexual maturity. Finally, one of the courter variants had a significantly different relationship between age and size at sexual maturity than the other variants, suggesting that in this variant, age at sexual maturity may be more closely related to size and therefore may be less plastic in its growth responses.

Keywords: alternative reproductive strategies; growth rate; high-backed swordtail; otoliths; size at sexual maturity

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Biological Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701, U.S.A.

Publication date: May 1, 2011


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