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Tactic changes in dusky frillgoby Bathygobius fuscus sneaker males: effects of body size and nest availability

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Field and laboratory studies were conducted to examine the effects of nest availability and body size on changes in male mating tactics from sneaking to nest‐holding in the dusky frillgoby Bathygobius fuscus. In the field, the body size of nest‐holding males decreased from early to mid‐breeding season, suggesting the possibility of a change in the tactics of sneaker males to nest‐holding. Many sneaker males did not use vacant spawning nests even when size‐matched nests were available, but they continued to reproduce as sneakers. Similarly, in aquarium experiments with available vacant nests, some sneaker males became nest‐holders irrespective of their body size, but some did not. These results showed that nest availability is not a limiting factor for changes in tactics by sneaker males in this species. Because tactic‐unchanged sneaker males were co‐housed with larger nest‐holding males in the tanks, the body size of nearby nest‐holding males may have affected the decision to change tactics for sneaker males. Moreover, smaller individuals among tactic‐changed males tended to spend more time until spawning, probably because they had relatively larger costs and smaller benefits of reproduction as nest‐holding males compared to larger males.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Graduate School of Fisheries Science & Environmental Studies, Nagasaki University, 1-14 Bunkyo-machi, Nagasaki 852-8521, Japan 2: Graduate School of Science and Technology, Nagasaki University, 1-14 Bunkyo-machi, Nagasaki 852-8521, Japan

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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