Mating can increase an individual's risk of mortality by predation. In response to predation hazards, males in some species court females less often, but alternatively engage in coerced copulations more frequently and females become less selective. Such predator-mediated shifts in mating tactics may result in higher levels of multiple inseminations in females and, thus, in greater frequencies of females with broods of mixed paternity. We tested this hypothesis using two polymorphic microsatellite loci to estimate conservatively multiple paternity in broods of female guppies (Poecilia reticulata) originating from ten natural populations that have evolved under different fish predation regimes in Trinidad. The frequency of broods that were multiply sired was significantly greater on average in populations experiencing high predation pressure compared to populations experiencing a relatively low predation risk. These results suggest that the intensity of male sperm competition covaries geographically with predation pressure in this species and that the local risk of predation mediates the opportunity for sexual selection within populations.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Geographical variation, Guppy, Multiple paternity, Poecilia reticulata, Population, Predation risk
Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Citation
Kelly, C.D. (Clint D.), Godin, J.-G.J, & Wright, J.M. (Jonathan M.). (1999). Geographical variation in multiple paternity within natural populations of the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 266(1436), 2403–2408.