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Presence of same sex individuals negatively affects egg maturation in female guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

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Competition with individuals of the same sex may affect reproduction, and the effect may depend on own competitive ability. We exposed individual guppy (Poecilia reticulata) females either to larger females, smaller females or held them alone for five weeks. All replicates had visual access to a sexually mature male. At the end of the experiment, there were no significant differences in daily growth or mass between the three treatments. However, females held alone had a higher reproductive output (in terms of ovary weight and GSI) than females held with either larger or smaller companions. This was mainly caused by a higher number of fully developed eggs in the ovaries of these females. The total number of eggs (including all stages) did not differ between the treatments. We suggest that the 'extra' energy not used in reproduction in the competitive treatments might have been spent on interactions between the females. In guppies socialising with other females seems to impose a cost on female reproduction.


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