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Female mate choice and spawning behaviour of Chinook salmon under experimental conditions

Authors

  • B. A. Berejikian,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Marine Fisheries Service, Resource Enhancement and Utilization Technologies Division, Manchester Research Station, P.O. Box 130, Manchester, WA 98353, U.S.A.
      ‡ Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel.: 206 842 8365; fax: 206 842 8365; email: barry.berejikian@noaa.gov
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  • E. P. Tezak,

    1. National Marine Fisheries Service, Resource Enhancement and Utilization Technologies Division, Manchester Research Station, P.O. Box 130, Manchester, WA 98353, U.S.A.
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  • A. L. LaRae

    1. Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, 45 E. E. 82nd Drive, Suite 100, Gladstone, OR 97027, U.S.A.
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‡ Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel.: 206 842 8365; fax: 206 842 8365; email: barry.berejikian@noaa.gov

Abstract

After spawning their first nest, female chinock salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha paired with small males (c. 46% of female weight) spent an average of 16·2 h between spawning of successive nests compared with 9·6 h for females paired with large males (c. 112% of female weight) (P< 0·05). Neither frequencies of female nest construction behaviours (digging and probing) nor male courtship behaviour (crossovers and quivers) differed between large- and small-male pairs. Male quivering frequencies were correlated significantly with female digging and probing frequencies, whereas the crossover frequencies were not. It is suggested that delayed spawning by females in the presence of relatively small males is a primary mechanism by which females in the genus Oncorhynchus exhibit mate choice.

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Ancillary