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The Adaptive Significance of Cannibalism in Sticklebacks (Gasterosteidae: Pisces)

Gerard J. FitzGerald and Natalie van Havre
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Vol. 20, No. 2 (1987), pp. 125-128
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4599999
Page Count: 4
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The Adaptive Significance of Cannibalism in Sticklebacks (Gasterosteidae: Pisces)
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Abstract

The threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus is a voracious cannibal of both its own eggs and those of conspecific neighbours. Females, but not males, can distinguish their progeny from those of other fish and attacked alien eggs more frequently. In experiments to examine nest raiding, females that initiated raids on nests resulting in cannibalism were the first females to spawn in the reconstructed nest. These results support the hypothesis that cannibalism by females may be adaptive in situations where intense female competition for male guardians occurs.

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