Wasteful carotenoid coloration and its effects on territorial behavior in a cichlid fish

By Ziegelbecker, Angelika & K. Remele, H.W. Pfeifhofer, K.M. Sefc

Hydrobiologia, pp. epub 18-Aug-2020. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-020-04354-3


" The famously diverse body coloration of cichlid fish serves communicative functions in mating and social interactions including competition for resources. Here, we examined the effects of a color pattern trait—the width of a yellow bar on a black body—on territorial competition in males and females of a color variant (“Ikola”) of the Lake Tanganyika cichlid Tropheus. First, measuring integumentary carotenoid concentrations in the yellow and black body regions, we established that wider yellow bars require more carotenoids allocated to body coloration. However, we also detected high carotenoid concentrations in the black body regions (> 100 µg/g fresh skin), raising questions about the function of non-displayed integumentary carotenoids. Behavioral experiments showed that fish with wider bars were quicker to explore an unfamiliar area of the tank. In experiments including presentations of fish dummies, the bar width of ‘territorial’ dummies had no effect on the latency time which test fish took to intrude into the dummies’ territories. However, male test fish performed fewer aggressive acts against wide-barred than against narrow-barred dummy competitors. Our results suggest that intimidation by wide bars as well as correlations between bar width and explorative behavior may contribute to mediating success in territorial Tropheus “Ikola” "

Classification: Behavior, Lake Tanganyika.

Language: English

Name substitutions

Ziegelbecker, Angelika & K. Remele, H.W. Pfeifhofer, K.M. Sefc. 2020. "Wasteful carotenoid coloration and its effects on territorial behavior in a cichlid fish". Hydrobiologia. pp. epub. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-020-04354-3 (crc09940) (abstract)