Female Sand Gobies Prefer Good Fathers Over Dominant Males
Female preference for males successful in male-male competition is generally assumed to result in mating with high quality males. Here I report results from an experiment disentangling the effects of intra- and intersexual selection in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus, a marine fish that exhibits paternal care. I show that large males are successful in male-male competition, but contrary to what one would expect, dominants are not preferred by females and are not better at taking care of the eggs. Female preference, however, correlated with the subsequent hatching success of the eggs. Thus, female choice selects for good parenting. Hence, direct benefits in the form of superior paternal care can explain female choice in this species, supporting a good parent process of sexual selection. However, choosing on the outcome of male-male competition does not enable females to mate with the 'best' males.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- September 1997