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Courtship behaviour and male sexual competition of the Taliang crocodile newt, Liangshantriton taliangensis

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The Taliang crocodile newt, Liangshantriton taliangensis, which is endemic to south-western China, is a rare salamandrid species with a distinct evolutionary history. Using combined field observations and captive experiments, we studied the courtship behaviour and male sexual interference of this species and composed a complete ethogram of its courtship behaviour. Unlike previous reports on sperm transfer, male L. taliangensis did not deposit spermatophores during ventral amplexus and females did not pick up sperm masses in this courtship phase. Sperm transfer was only performed during arm-hooking pin-wheel circling, which distinguishes L. taliangensis from Tylototriton species and supports the validity of genus Liangshantriton. Whether L. taliangensis shows bimodality in sperm transfer needs to be explored in additional populations. In the presence of sexual competitors, male L. taliangensis adjusted the duration of their behaviour. We found that males with longer snout-vent length, heavier mass, and higher tailfins may have an advantage in intrasexual competition.

Affiliations: 1: 1Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, 610041, China ; 2: 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China ; 3: 3Liziping National Nature Reserve, Yaan, 625400, China ; 4: 4China West Normal University, Nanchong, 637000, China

*Corresponding author; e-mail: xiefeng@cib.ac.cn
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2018-06-29
2018-08-16

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