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Cuckoldry rates in the Molly Miller (scartella cristata; blenniidae), a hole-nesting marine fish with alternative reproductive tactics
Mackiewicz, M.; Porter, B.A.; Dakin, E.E.; Avise, J.C. (2005). Cuckoldry rates in the Molly Miller (scartella cristata; blenniidae), a hole-nesting marine fish with alternative reproductive tactics. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 148: 213-221. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-005-0010-9
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Mackiewicz, M.
  • Porter, B.A.
  • Dakin, E.E.
  • Avise, J.C.

Abstract
    Microsatellite markers were developed and employed to assess genetic maternity and paternity of embryos in nest-tended clutches of the Molly Miller (Scartella cristata), a marine fish in which alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) by males were recently described from behavioral and morphological evidence. Genetic data gathered for 1,536 surveyed progeny, from 23 barnacle-nest holes in a single Floridian population, indicate that on average about 5.5 females (range 3–9) contributed to the pool of progeny within a nest. With regard to paternity, the microsatellite data demonstrate that most of the surveyed nests (82.6%) contained at least some embryos that had not been sired by the nest-tending (bourgeois) male, and overall that 12.4% of offspring in the population had been sired via "stolen" fertilizations by other males. These are among the highest values of cuckoldry documented to date in nest-tending fishes, and they support and quantify the notion that the nest-parasitic ART is reproductively quite successful in this species despite what would otherwise seem to be highly defensible nesting sites (the restricted interior space of a barnacle shell). Our estimated cuckoldry rates in this population of the Molly Miller are compared to those previously reported for local populations in other nest-tending fish species, with results discussed in the context of ecological and behavioral variables that may influence relative frequencies of nest parasitism.

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