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Female Mimicry as a Mating Tactic in Males of the Blenniid Fish Salaria Pavo

  • Emanuel J. Gonçalves (a1), Vitor C. Almada (a1), Rui F. Oliveira (a1) and António J. Santos (a1)

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In this paper we present evidence for female mimicry in a population of Salaria pavo (Pisces: Blenniidae). Parental males differ markedly from females by the presence of a large crest on the head and anal glands on the two spiny rays of the anal fin. We found a proportion of smaller and younger males that are almost identical to females both in morphology and behaviour. These ‘female-like’ males lack secondary sexual characters and actively court parental males, displaying the female's colour pattern and courting behaviour. These males are sexually mature and their gonadosomatic indices are higher than those of parental males. Female mimicry is considered to be a functional way to achieve sneak fertilizations.

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