Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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Living on the wedge: female control of paternity in a cooperatively polyandrous cichlid

Masanori Kohda

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Masanori Kohda

Animal Sociology, Department of Biology and Geosciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan

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Dik Heg

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Dik Heg

Department of Behavioural Ecology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Wohlenstrasse 50a, CH-3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland

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Yoshimi Makino

Yoshimi Makino

Animal Sociology, Department of Biology and Geosciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan

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Tomohiro Takeyama

Tomohiro Takeyama

Animal Sociology, Department of Biology and Geosciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan

Animal Ecology, Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

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Jun-ya Shibata

Jun-ya Shibata

Animal Sociology, Department of Biology and Geosciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan

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Katsutoshi Watanabe

Katsutoshi Watanabe

Animal Ecology, Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

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Hiroyuki Munehara

Hiroyuki Munehara

Usujiri Fisheries Station, Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, Hakodate 041-1613, Japan

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Michio Hori

Michio Hori

Animal Ecology, Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

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Satoshi Awata

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Satoshi Awata

Animal Sociology, Department of Biology and Geosciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan

Usujiri Fisheries Station, Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, Hakodate 041-1613, Japan

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Published:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2009.1175

    Theories suggest that, in cooperatively breeding species, female control over paternity and reproductive output may affect male reproductive skew and group stability. Female paternity control may come about through cryptic female choice or female reproductive behaviour, but experimental studies are scarce. Here, we show a new form of female paternity control in a cooperatively polyandrous cichlid fish (Julidochromis transcriptus), in which females prefer wedge-shaped nesting sites. Wedge-shaped sites allowed females to manipulate the siring success of the group member males by spawning the clutch at the spot where the large males were just able to enter and fertilize the outer part of the clutch. Small males fertilized the inner part of the clutch, protected from the large aggressive males, leading to low male reproductive skew. Small males provided more brood care than large males. Multiple paternity induced both males to provide brood care and reduced female brood care accordingly. This is, to our knowledge, the first documented case in a species with external fertilization showing female mating behaviour leading to multiple male paternity and increased male brood care as a result.

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