Black male bellies and red female throats: Color changes with breeding status in a threespine stickleback

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24 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper provides the first report of black nuptial coloration on the ventral side for a population of threespine sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, in Northern California. Black nuptial coloration was least intense during precourtship. Although the black coloration intensified during courtship, it was not a significant predictor of female choice and, unlike the red throat and blue eyes, was not inversely correlated with the number of female introductions necessary before spawning occurred. Black coloration was the most intense for males who successfully hatched embryos, supporting a parental-defense role late in the cycle. Unsuccessful fathers had more intensely colored red throats, blue eyes, and black bellies during most of the reproductive cycle than successful fathers. Some females in this study developed red coloration on their throat, although none to the intensity or distribution typical of a breeding male.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Black nuptial coloration
  • Female coloration
  • Fish
  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • Parental success

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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