The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Publication

Hert, E. 1991. Female choice based on egg-spots in Pseudotropheus aurora Burgess 1976, a rock-dwelling cichlid of Lake Malawi, Africa. Journal of Fish Biology 38: 951-953.  

The functional significance of egg-spots in the maternal mouthbrooder Pseudotropheus aurora Burgess 1976, has been examined in the field. Egg-spots are conspicuous orange spots on the anal fin of males which are believed to mimic eggs and function both to attract females and to ensure fertilization. The egg-spots of Astatotilapia elegans (Trewavas, 1933) are male sexual signals that attract females and stimulate them to spawn but do not increase fertilization rates. The present work seeks to establish whether this finding is transferable to the field and to another species. A pilot experiment in the laboratory suggested that female choice of males is based on numbers of spots. In the field, experiments tested which male would stimulate the females to spawn more frequently. The field experiments were undertaken off Thumbi Island West in the southern part of Lake Malawi where P. aurora was introduced about 20 years ago.




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