Implications of multiple mating for offspring relatedness and shoaling behaviour in juvenile guppies

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    Polyandry (female multiple mating) can confer important benefits to females, but few studies have considered its potential costs. One such cost may arise through differences in the relatedness of offspring born to females with different mating histories; offspring born to monandrous females are always full siblings, while those produced by polyandrous females may be full or half siblings. These differences may have important consequences for social interactions among offspring. We used artificial insemination in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), a promiscuous live-bearing fish, to evaluate shoaling behaviour in polyandrous and monandrous broods. We combined this information with known parentage data for the polyandrous broods to determine whether sibling relatedness influenced offspring shoaling behaviour. While we detected no effect of mating treatment (polyandry/monandry) on shoaling behaviour, we found that pairs of full siblings spent significantly more time shoaling (and in close proximity) than pairs of half siblings. This latter finding confirms the ability of newborn guppies to distinguish brood mates on the basis of kinship, but also suggests an important and hitherto unrealized potential cost of polyandry: a reduction in within-brood relatedness with potentially important implications for offspring social behaviour.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)623-626
    JournalBiology Letters
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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