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Anim Behav. 1998 May;55(5):1151-63.

Mate choice and mate competition influence male body size in Japanese medaka.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University


A sexual size dimorphism usually occurs when size-dependent reproductive advantages exist in only one sex. Studies on Japanese medaka, Oryzias latipes, have demonstrated reproductive size advantages in females but not in males, even though males and females are similar in body size. We conducted mate-choice and mate-copying tests in which a female could first associate with, then mate with, either a large (>/=1 sd+X standard length) or a small male (</=1 sd-X standard length). Large males obtained a mating advantage in both tests, and both mate choice and mate competition influenced their mating success. In the majority of trials, females associated with large males. Association preferences of females corresponded to their mating preferences when mate competition between males was weak; however, when mate competition was strong, large males obtained almost every mating regardless of female association preference. Preference for large males may provide females with a reproductive advantage if males mate multiply because small males become sperm-depleted sooner than large males. We found no indication that females copied the mating decisions of other females. Repeatability of female mating preference was low, not because females mated at random with respect to male size, but because most females consistently preferred large males. We also conducted mating tests at four density levels and found that large males maintained their mating advantage relative to small males at all densities. Thus, male and female medaka may be similar in body size because large size provides a fecundity advantage for females, as demonstrated in previous studies, and large size provides a mating advantage for males, as demonstrated in our study. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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