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Forced monogamy in a multiply mating species does not impede colonisation success

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Abstract

Background: The guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is a successful invasive species. It is also a species that mates multiply; previous studies have demonstrated that this strategy carries fitness benefits. Guppies are routinely introduced to tanks and troughs in regions outside their native range for mosquito-control purposes, and often spread beyond these initial confines into natural water bodies with negative ecological consequences. Here, using a mesocosm set up that resembles the containers into which single guppies are typically introduced for mosquito control, we ask whether singly-mated females are at a disadvantage, relative to multiply-mated females, when it comes to founding a population. Treatments were monitored for one year. Results: A key finding was that mating history did not predict establishment success, which was 88% in both treatments. Furthermore, analysis of behavioural traits revealed that the descendants of singly-mated females retained antipredator behaviours, and that adult males showed no decrease in courtship vigour. Also, we detected no differences in behavioural variability between treatments. Conclusions: These results suggest that even when denied the option of multiple mating, singly-mated female guppies can produce viable populations, at least at the founder stage. This may prove to be a critical advantage in typical introduction scenarios where few individuals are released into enclosed water bodies before finding their way into natural ecosystems.
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Ecology
Volume14
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Jun 2014

    Research areas

  • Poecilia reticulata, Polyandry, Invasive species, Mesocosms, Population viability

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