Machnik, Peter and Kramer, Bernd (2011) Novel electrosensory advertising during diurnal resting period in male snoutfish, Marcusenius altisambesi (Mormyridae, Teleostei). Journal of Ethology 29 (1), pp. 131-142.
During the day, weakly electric snoutfish, such as Marcusenius altisambesi from the Okavango delta, avoid visually oriented predators by hiding in sheltered, dark places where they discharge their electric organs at a low and variable rate, interspersed with occasional short bursts (mean discharge rate, 4–12 Hz). Hence, histograms of inter-discharge intervals (IDI) are broad and bimodal (IDI range, about 15–500 ms; “variable IDI pattern”). We report here that with a female neighbor in electrical communication reach, captive males of M. altisambesi (N = 4) each showed a novel type of IDI resting pattern that was characterized by a higher and more constant discharge rate (16–28 Hz). These IDI histograms were unimodal and narrow (IDI range, about 11–100 ms; “regularized IDI pattern”). In each of these males, the regularized pattern vanished when the female neighbors were replaced by males, and the common variable IDI pattern of low rate was observed instead. In an unforced choice paradigm, six M. altisambesi experimental females were allowed to choose between two electric fish decoys, one playing back the novel regularized IDI pattern and one playing back the variable IDI pattern. Five experimental females significantly preferred staying close to the decoy playing back the regularized IDI pattern, whereas one female showed the opposite preference. It appears that males advertise to females during their diurnal period of overt inactivity, with an inconspicuous signal that neither threatens conspecifics nor alerts predators by overt behavior. A secondary function of the regularized male IDI pattern could be to advance the reproductive cycle of females.
|Institutions:||Biology, Preclinical Medicine > Institut für Zoologie > Verhaltensbiologie und Verhaltensphysiologie (Prof. Dr. Bernd Kramer)|
|Keywords:||Electric organ discharge; Electrocommunication; Reproductive cycle; Sexual attraction; Male advertisement signal; Regularized discharge pattern|
|Subjects:||500 Science > 570 Life sciences|
500 Science > 590 Zoological sciences
|Refereed:||Yes, this version has been refereed|
|Created at the University of Regensburg:||Yes|
|Owner:||Helge Knüttel (ADMIN)|
|Deposited On:||28 Jan 2011 11:45|
|Last Modified:||21 Jul 2011 02:06|