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Sexual dimorphism and male mating success in the tentacled blenny, Parablennius tentacularis (Teleostei: Blenniidae)
Giacomello, E.; Rasotto, M.B. (2005). Sexual dimorphism and male mating success in the tentacled blenny, Parablennius tentacularis (Teleostei: Blenniidae). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 147(5): 1221-1228.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Giacomello, E.
  • Rasotto, M.B.

    Although external sexually dimorphic traits are commonly found in males of combtooth blenny species, little is known about the benefit they can convey to male mating success. Indeed, while female preferences for large males have been demonstrated in some species, the possible role played by dimorphic ornaments has been neglected. We now report on the tentacled blenny, Parablennius tentacularis, a species where males are characterized by bulb glands on the anal fin and both sexes exhibit a dark spot on the dorsal fin and orbital tentacles. Males are territorial, make nests in empty bivalve shells, and provide solitary parental care for the eggs. Using morphometric analysis and field collected data on male and female external features, nest characteristics and number of eggs in the nests, we have assessed the development of dimorphic traits in both sexes and male mating success. The results reveal that orbital tentacles of males are more developed and more variable in size than those of females. Larger males exhibit longer orbital tentacles and larger anal glands but do not necessarily occupy larger nests. Male mating success is significantly correlated with the inner nest surface area and with orbital tentacle size but not with body size. These results provide support for a primary role of male ornaments in enhancing blenny male mating success and are discussed in the context of mate choice for direct and indirect benefits.

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