Abstract - Behav. Ecol. & Sociobiol., 1992


Sexual and clonal fish of the genus Poeciliopsis occur together in desert streams of Sonora, Mexico. Their coexistence has been explained in terms of niche partitioning for food and space. We examined predatory behavior that might influence niche relationships, and found significant differences among two coexisting sperm-dependent clonal strains and their two sexual progenitors. Handling time and prey manipulation of free-swimming (Artemia) and benthic (chironomid larvae) prey differed significantly among sexual and clonal strains. Analyses of gut contents from field collected fish revealed that the laboratory estimates of predatory efficiency were related to their feeding behavior in nature. Behavioral differences, such as those described herein, contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of unisexual/bisexual coexistence in Poeciliopsis.



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