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Evidence for genetic monogamy and female-biased dispersal in the biparental mouthbrooding cichlid Eretmodus cyanostictus from Lake Tanganyika


Martin Taylor. E-mail:


In this study, we investigate whether apparent social monogamy (where a species forms a pair bond but may participate in copulations outside the pair bond) corresponds with genetic monogamy (where individuals participate only in copulations within a pair bond) in a biparental mouthbrooding cichlid fish, Eretmodus cyanostictus, from Lake Tanganyika, Africa. Our findings suggest that E. cyanostictus is both socially and genetically monogamous and that monogamy may result from limited opportunities for polygyny, rather than from reproductive benefits of monogamy. Mating systems are believed to influence the relative rate of dispersal of the sexes, and our results suggest that E. cyanostictus displays female-biased dispersal, providing some support for the ‘resource competition’ hypothesis driving sex-biased dispersal.