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Male Courtship Pheromones Affect Female Behaviour in the Swordtail Characin (Corynopoma riisei)

Authors

  • Mirjam Amcoff,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
    • Correspondence

      Mirjam Amcoff, Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden.

      E-mail: mirjam.amcoff@ebc.uu.se

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    • Both authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
  • Lára R. Hallsson,

    1. Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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    • Both authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
  • Svante Winberg,

    1. Department of Neuroscience, Physiology, Uppsala Biomedical Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Niclas Kolm

    1. Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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Abstract

Pheromones constitute an important cue used by both males and females during courtship. Here, we investigate the effect of male pheromones on female behaviour in the swordtail characin (Corynopoma riisei), a species of fish where males have a caudal pheromone gland which has been suggested to affect female behaviour during courtship. We subjected female C. riisei to male courtship pheromones and investigated the effect on both female behaviour and brain serotonergic activity levels compared to a control group. While no difference in serotonergic activity was found, the pheromone-treated females showed lower stress levels compared to the control group. Furthermore, pheromone-treated females increased locomotor activity over time, while a decrease in locomotor activity was observed in the control group. These results suggest that the male courtship pheromones may serve to reduce female stress and increase female activity, possibly to aid males in gaining access to females and facilitating sperm transfer.

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