Much research has been conducted on the mating systems of poeciliid fish in aquaria; however, there are fewer studies that examine mate sampling of these fish in the wild. In general, male poeciliids are characterized as being unselective in their mate choices and will attempt to copulate with seemingly all available females. Females are selective, copulate infrequently, and are often pursued by “ardent” males who may force copulations. To avoid male harassment, females in aquaria will often shelter from males among other females in shoals. Here, we examined the mate-sampling behaviors of male and female Pecos gambusia Gambusia nobilis by following individuals swimming in an outflow pool of Diamond Y Spring in southwestern Texas. In most cases, a male approached a solitary female, followed her briefly, and then left for no apparent reason. Approaching a number of females increased the likelihood that the male would follow one, and the longer a male followed a female, the more likely he was to copulate with her. As females were larger and faster than males, they could avoid males by swimming away from them. We found no evidence of the persistent males that harass seemingly unreceptive females as seen under aquarium conditions, nor did we see females join a shoal to stop pursuit by males. However, the activity of one male following a female did appear to attract other males who would compete to follow and attempt copulation. This competition might ensure that only superior males gain reproductive opportunities.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 70 • No. 4