Because agonistic behaviour can increase an individual's risk of predation, natural selection should favour individuals that modify their behaviour in the face of predation hazard in ways that maximise fitness. We investigated experimentally the effects of an increase in the apparent risk of predation on male-male competition within mixed-sex shoals of the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata). We show that males engaged in significantly fewer aggressive interactions with conspecific males in the presence of a fish predator. However, they continued to court and attempt copulations with females at the same rate irrespective of the level of predation risk. In comparison, under predation hazard, female guppies were less responsive sexually and avoided fewer male copulation attempts. Such predator-mediated changes in male-male agonistic interactions and female sexual responsiveness towards males have important implications for the mode and intensity of sexual selection within populations.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Agonistic interactions, Guppy, Male-male competition, Mate choice, Predation risk, Sexual competition
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s002650100410
Journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Citation
Kelly, C.D. (Clint D.), & Godin, J.-G.J. (2001). Predation risk reduces male-male sexual competition in the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 51(1), 95–100. doi:10.1007/s002650100410