A test for male parental care in a fundulid, the bluefin killifish, Lucania goodei

Rebecca C. Fuller, Joseph Travis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under field conditions, breeding male bluefin killifish, Lucania goodei, have been observed aggressively defending territories from other breeding males, non-breeding females, and minnows (mainly Notropis harperi). We performed an aquarium experiment to test whether male aggression serves to protect newly deposited eggs from predation. We allowed a male and a female to spawn in a yarn mop, removed the female, and exposed the eggs to one of four treatments (spawning male present, two minnows present, spawning male + two minnows present, no adult fish present). Mops were censused daily for seven days. Egg predation rates were highest in the male + minnows and male only treatments. Egg predation rates in the male + minnows treatment did not differ from the predicted predation rate (sum of male only and minnows only treatments). Hence, there is no evidence for male parental care in L. goodei. In addition, we compared the egg predation rates (filial cannibalism) between males of 3 different color morphs and found no evidence for differential egg cannibalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-426
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Egg cannibalism
  • Egg predation
  • Filial cannibalism
  • Territoriality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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