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Parental Division of Labor in a Monogamous Fish

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Both parents of the monogamous Texas cichlid (Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum) participate in offspring care and territorial defense. These activities are typically synchronized, with and without intruders being present, such that only one parent is away from the offspring. During the egg and wriggler stage, the male spends more time patrolling the territory while the female devotes more time to offspring care. During the fry stage, both parents tend to remain with the offspring. Either sex can rear the offspring in the absence of the mate. With the removal of the mate, the female's activities remain largely unchanged while the male (in the absence of the female) becomes female-like. It appears as if the male adjusts his responses according to the activity of the female.

Affiliations: 1: (Biology Department, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, U.S.A.


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