Microsatellite loci were used to evaluate the level of polyandry and intraspecific brood mixing
in Protomelas c.f. [sic] spilopterus, a paedophagous, maternal mouth-brooding
cichlid from Lake Malawi, Africa. We found that broods were fertilized by one to three males,
which was a reduced level of multiple paternity compared to other mouth-brooding cichlids.
Low density of breeding males and the risk of intraspecific predation are likely explanations
for reduced polyandry. Intraspecific brood-mixing was found in four out of the six broods
examined, with the proportions of foreign fry ranging from 6% to 65%. The potential origins
of brood mixing are discussed, although no firm conclusions can be drawn given the limited
behavioral observations for this species.