Predation cost of a sexual signal in the threespine stickleback

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/225356

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Johnson , S & Candolin , U 2017 , ' Predation cost of a sexual signal in the threespine stickleback ' , Behavioral Ecology , vol. 28 , no. 4 , pp. 1160-1165 . https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arx080

Title: Predation cost of a sexual signal in the threespine stickleback
Author: Johnson, Sini; Candolin, Ulrika
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Biosciences
Date: 2017
Language: eng
Number of pages: 6
Belongs to series: Behavioral Ecology
ISSN: 1045-2249
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/225356
Abstract: Much evidence exists for sexually selected traits reflecting various components of mate quality, but the factors that limit signal expression and ensure honest signaling are less well known. Predation risk has been proposed to be one factor that could constrain the elaboration of visually conspicuous signals and ensure honesty, but little evidence exists because of limitations of earlier used methods. We investigated using a combination of field observations and experimental work if a conspicuous sexual signal of the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus, the red nuptial coloration of the male, increases predation risk. We compared the proportion of colorful males in the gut of a predator in the wild, the perch Perca fluviatilis, to that in the population, and found proportionally more red-colored stickleback in the gut. This indicates that the predator selectively preys on colorful males under natural conditions. To differentiate between the effects of color and behavior on susceptibility to predation, we experimentally investigated the attack behavior of the predator towards breeding stickleback males differing in coloration. We found the predator to preferentially attack more colorful males, independent of their behavior. These results indicate that predation risk is a cost of the sexual signal that could limit expression and influence the honesty of the signal as an indicator of mate quality
Subject: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Coloration
courtship
ornament
predation risk
reliable signaling
sexual selection
GASTEROSTEUS-ACULEATUS
MATE CHOICE
3-SPINED STICKLEBACK
MALE COLORATION
CONSPICUOUS COLORATION
EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY
NUPTIAL COLORATION
NATURAL-SELECTION
MALES
RISK
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