We examined the importance of establishment and maintenance of territory on reproductive activity in the male dwarf gourami, Colisa lalia. After three males had been forced to fight for territory (five sets) for three weeks, social status was divided into three classes: the territorially dominant male, which guarded the territory under the floating nest; the second male which remained near the nest and occasionally attacked the dominant male; and the third male which was non-aggressive and remained at a distance from the other two males. Comparing testicular size by gonadosomatic indices (GSI) after three weeks of aggression, GSI of the dominant male (1.19 ± 0.07) was significantly larger than that of the second (0.81 ± 0.15) and the third (0.62 ± 0.08) males, as well as the initial control (not involved in any experiments: 0.85 ± 0.10, n = 5), indicating that the testes of the dominant males enlarge during territory defense. Histological observations of testes revealed that sperm production in the dominant males was more active compared to males of other classes, although spermatogenesis was confirmed in all males examined, suggesting that dominance accelerates sperm production. Social-status dependent development of testes suggests an absence of sperm competition due to the lack of sneaking by subordinate males. Since non-territorial males do not engage in alternative tactics (e.g., sneaking) leading to emission of semen, male C. lalia must obtain and defend territory if they are to increase their reproductive success.
Vol. 29 • No. 3
Vol. 29 • No. 3