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Plasticity in Size and Age at Maturity in a Monogamous Fish: Effect of Host Coral Size and Frequency Dependence

Tetsuo Kuwamura, Yasuhiro Nakashima and Yutaka Yogo
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Vol. 38, No. 6 (1996), pp. 365-370
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4601218
Page Count: 6
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Plasticity in Size and Age at Maturity in a Monogamous Fish: Effect of Host Coral Size and Frequency Dependence
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Abstract

The number and maximum body size of the gobioid fish, Paragobiodon echinocephalus, increase with the size of its obligate host coral, Stylophora. Only the largest two individuals breed monogamously in each coral head, and the reproductive success of each spawning is positively correlated with body size. In this study, the plasticity in size and age at maturity in P. echinocephalus was examined. We analyzed life history data from gobies 15-20 mm TL (total length) at their initial marking. Gobies found in larger corals were of lower rank in size order and began to breed later at a larger size, usually upon moving to other corals. The size at maturity ranged widely from 17.2 to 36.0 mm TL. After maturation, growth rates decreased. Mortality, however, was not affected by the timing of maturation. The host coral size did not affect the growth and mortality of marked fish, but the mortality rate of juveniles prior to marking appeared to be higher in smaller corals. The estimated lifetime reproductive success did not differ between the gobies inhabiting corals of different size. Thus the plasticity in size and age at maturity in this species may be maintained by frequency-dependent selection in choosing a host coral size that affects an individual's social status.

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