The benefit to some minnows of spawning in the nests of other species

Illinois Natural History Survey
Environmental Biology of Fishes (Impact Factor: 1.57). 05/1994; 40(2):213-218. DOI: 10.1007/BF00002547


Fishes that act as nest associates spawn simultaneously with nest-building hosts and then abandon their eggs. The proposed benefit for this behavior is increased brood survivorship, arising from the physical environment provided by the nest or the parental care provided by the host. Field and enclosure experiments indicated that associates benefit from the parental care provided by the host, and not from the physical environment provided by the nests of hosts. This information, along with the effect of nest association on host reproductive success, is necessary before the nature of this nesting symbiosis can be characterized.

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Available from: Carol E. Johnston, Aug 13, 2014
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    • "Furthermore, we only consider physical characteristics of nests as a potential driver of host switching. Behavioral mechanisms may also be at work in this system, particularly the important effect of parental care (Johnston 1994a). For example, tending male Bluehead chubs cover eggs with gravel after spawning, while stonerollers abandon their broods relatively quickly (Sabaj et al. 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: Several nest-building North American minnows (Cyprinidae) function as reproductive hosts to nest associates–species that require nests of other species for spawning. Understanding the microhabitat preferences of hosts can yield insight into the reproductive ecology of many species, especially of nest associates that can utilize nests of two or more hosts. We observed nests of Central stoneroller Campostoma anomalum in which several associate species were actively spawning. Bluehead chubs Nocomis leptocephalus began constructing nests two days later in the same stream, at which time associates abandoned stoneroller nests and continued on to spawn on chub nests. This presented a unique opportunity for accomplishing two objectives: (1) quantifying stoneroller nesting microhabitat preference and (2) comparing stoneroller and chub habitat preference to gain insight into the mechanisms that may drive host switching by nest associates. We measured substrate size, current velocity, water depth, and egg depth on seven paired stoneroller and chub nests, and compared these measurements to paired microhabitat measurements at a randomly selected point near each nest. Repeated measures analysis of variance with post hoc Tukey tests revealed that stonerollers exhibited distinct nesting microhabitat preferences from chubs. Gravel on stoneroller nests was considerably smaller than on chub nests and stonerollers nested in shallower depths than chubs. However, both species nested at similar current velocities. If nest associates switch partners based on the physical characteristics of nests, then substrate size is likely the most important factor. The larger gravel sizes on chub nests likely provide better egg aeration than stoneroller nests. Chub nests may also be safer for associate broods because male Bluehead chubs cover eggs with gravel after spawning; stonerollers do not. Future work should take an experimental approach to elucidate these mechanisms.
    Journal of Freshwater Ecology 10/2015; DOI:10.1080/02705060.2015.1091390 · 0.65 Impact Factor
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    • "In fact , associate progeny must benefit from nest defence because after spawning , adult male chubs maintain nests by turning and adding stones . Many studies suggest that parental care , rather than physical structure , is the primary reason species choose to use nest association ( Wallin , 1989 ; Johnston , 1994a ; Shao , 1997a ) . Using experimental methods , these studies demonstrate that artificially maintained nests do not attract nest associates , and that associate reproductive success is reduced in untended nests . "
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    ABSTRACT: Although nest association among Nocomis chubs and other minnows (Cyprinidae) is common throughout North America, the overall outcome of this relationship and its mechanisms of costs and benefits remain unclear. Because imperilment of stream fishes is affected by reproductive traits, the implications of this widespread interaction must be understood.Nest association mechanisms were explored using a multiple working hypotheses framework on fish assemblage data from 25 reaches in three tributaries of the New River, Virginia, USA. Multiple linear regression models predicting reproductive success (age-0 abundance) of chubs and associates were compared based on model weights (wi) calculated from Akaike's Information Criterion, adjusted for small sample size (AICc), and relative change in AICc among models. For age-0 chubs, models represented hypotheses emphasizing the additive effects of adult abundance, nest abundance, and egg dilution by juvenile associates (causing decreased egg predation). For age-0 associates, models represented hypotheses emphasizing adult associate abundance, gravel substrate availability, nest abundance, parental care (as nest defence) from chubs, and egg dilution by chubs.Model evidence suggests that chubs can sustain themselves (w = 0.61), but their reproductive success is enhanced by a dilution effect from juvenile strong associates (w = 0.37). Strong associate reproductive success was best described by variables emphasizing nest association interactions (w = 0.46) and natural sources of habitat variability (w = 0.45), whereas that of weak associates was more closely related to availability of unmodified habitat (w = 0.50).Chubs and associates appear to receive a net benefit from the association, suggesting a mutualistic relationship. Community-wide conservation strategies may be useful for protecting symbiotic spawning fishes. In addition to competition and predation, conservation practitioners should consider positive interactions in conservation plans of imperiled mutualists. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 12/2013; 23(6). DOI:10.1002/aqc.2361 · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    • "Conspecific brood parasitism (CBP) is an alternative reproductive tactic used by females in many insects, fishes, birds and other animals with maternal care (e.g. Brockman 1993, Johnston 1994, Yom-Tov 2001, Tallamy 2005). The parasite lays eggs in the nest of another female of the same species, which raises the parasite's offspring together with her own. "
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    ABSTRACT: Conspecific brood parasitism (CBP) is an alternative reproductive tactic found in many animals with parental care. Parasitizing females lay eggs in the nests of other females (hosts) of the same species, which incubate and raise both their own and the foreign offspring. The causes and consequences of CBP are debated. Using albumen fingerprinting of eggs for accurately detecting parasitism, we here analyse its relation to female condition and clutch size in High Arctic common eiders Somateria mollissima borealis. Among 166 clutches in a Svalbard colony, 31 (19%) contained eggs from more than one female, and 40 of 670 eggs (6%) were parasitic. In 6 cases an active nest with egg(s) was taken over by another female. Many suitable nest sites were unoccupied, indicating that CBP and nest takeover are reproductive tactics, not only consequences of nest site shortage. Similarity in body mass between female categories suggests that condition does not determine whether a nesting female becomes parasitised. There was no evidence of low condition in parasites: egg size was similar in hosts and parasites, and parasitism was equally frequent early and late in the laying season. Meta-analysis of this and 3 other eider studies shows that there is a cost of being parasitised in this precocial species: host females laid on average 7% fewer eggs than other females.
    Journal of Avian Biology 05/2011; 42(3):231 - 238. DOI:10.1111/j.1600-048X.2010.05288.x · 1.97 Impact Factor
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