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A direct assay of female choice in cichlids: all the eggs in one basket

Authors

  • M. R. Kidd,

    Corresponding author
    1. Hubbard Center for Genome Studies & Department of Zoology, Suite 400, Gregg Hall, 35 Colovos Road, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, U.S.A.
      *Tel.: +1 603 862 2104; fax: +1 603 862 2940; email: mckidd@earthlink.net
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  • P. D. Danley,

    1. Hubbard Center for Genome Studies & Department of Zoology, Suite 400, Gregg Hall, 35 Colovos Road, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, U.S.A.
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    • Present address: Department of Biology, University of Maryland, Biology/Psychology Bldg, College Park, MD20742, U.S.A.

  • T. D. Kocher

    1. Hubbard Center for Genome Studies & Department of Zoology, Suite 400, Gregg Hall, 35 Colovos Road, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, U.S.A.
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*Tel.: +1 603 862 2104; fax: +1 603 862 2940; email: mckidd@earthlink.net

Abstract

A novel testing apparatus is presented which affords the researcher maximum control over the testing environment, but allows for the scoring of actual spawning events. Female Metriaclima zebra and Metriaclima benetos chose the appropriate conspecific mate in every mating trial performed. This apparatus provides support for a critical assumption of many cichlid speciation models: that female cichlids use visual cues to recognize conspecifics. These results demonstrate that females are able to identify conspecific mates using only visual cues, and provide further support for the importance of sexual selection in the speciation of these fishes.

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