SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

This paper describes competitive interaction between males of the salamandrid Cynops ensicauda popei. The sexual behaviour of the male is influenced by the presence of a second, rival, male. Competition for access to the female and other male interactions continuously interrupt ongoing courtships. Spermatophore pick-up success is lower than in encounters involving single pairs. During triad encounters, fewer spermatophores were deposited than in dyad encounters, due to interference during the creep stage of courtship.

Two basic forms of male sexual interference were distinguished: ‘lure away’ during the creeping stage, from a position that is different from the direction of creep; and ‘female mimicry’, during which the male presses his snout alternately against the courting male's tail and the female's snout. In both forms, a rival male may shove one of the courting individuals away.

The repertoire of sexual behaviour patterns of Cynops ensicauda popei appears to be less complex and varied than that of most Triturus species. The courtship of Cynops places less emphasis on display behaviour with tail and body, and a stronger emphasis on the creeping stage, where the male carefully leads the responsive female over a series of spermatophores, but during which rival males may interfere in a variety of ways.