Genetic evidence for cuckoldry in bluegill Lepomis macrochirus


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In colonies of bluegill Lepomis macrochirus, some males provide parental care for broods in nests, whereas other males steal fertilizations and do not provide parental care. Using experimental pond populations of bluegill of known genotype (determined through protein electrophoresis), we demonstrate that cuckolder males successfully fertilize eggs in parental male nests. Using electrophoretic techniques to assess the fertilization success of nesting parental male bluegill in Lake Opinicon, Ontario, we demonstrate that paternity of these males ranges from 41% to 100% among four colonies studied. This difference among colonies is related to the density of cuckolder males.