Species divergence and seasonal succession in rates of mate desertion in closely related Neotropical cichlid fishes

TK Lehtonen, Wong BBM, Kai Lindström, A Meyer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Across animal taxa, exclusive female offspring care has evolved repeatedly from biparental care, suggesting that the latter becomes evolutionarily unstable under certain conditions. Both the attributes of a species and the environment it experiences can help to predict shifts from one particular care mode to another. Nevertheless, factors inducing differences in care strategies among closely related species, or seasonal variation within species, have been subject to surprisingly little empirical testing. Here, we report the results of a field-based study that examined both among and within species variation in mate desertion in five species of closely related Nicaraguan cichlid fish in the genera Amphilophus and Amatitlania. The results show a link between female body size and male involvement in offspring care. Specifically, the larger the species the less often males were found to provide extended care. Furthermore, we found that solitary females became more common towards the end of the breeding season. We discuss the implications of this finding in the context of previous theoretical and empirical contributions regarding the frequency of offspring desertion by males.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)607–612
    Number of pages6
    JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Body size
    • Lake Apoyo
    • Lake Xiloa
    • Mate desertion
    • Midas cichlid complex
    • Parental care
    • Seasonal variation
    • Species comparison

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