Do the risks of predation and intermale competition affect courtship behavior in the salamander Desmognathus ochrophaeus?

Abstract

Natural populations of mountain dusky salamanders, Desmognathus ochrophaeus (Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae), may experience two types of risk during courtship encounters: interspecific predation, affecting both sexes, and intraspecific competition for mates, affecting males. We conducted two experiments in the laboratory to determine whether and how these two risks influence the outcome of male-female encounters. In experiment 1, courtship interactions resulting in spermatophore deposition were inhibited in the presence of a restrained species of salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) known to prey on D. ochrophaeus. Probability of successful courtship was not affected by the presence of a restrained species that is not predatory (Plethodon teyahalee). In experiment 2, courtship interactions resulting in spermatophore deposition were inhibited in the presence of two restrained conspecific males, but were unaffected in the presence of a single restrained male. We conclude that the dual risks of predation and intrasexual competition for mates have been significant selective factors in shaping the evolution of courtship decisions in Desmognathus ochrophaeus.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00168826

Cite this paper

@article{Uzendoski2004DoTR, title={Do the risks of predation and intermale competition affect courtship behavior in the salamander Desmognathus ochrophaeus?}, author={Kerry Uzendoski and Esther Maksymovitch and Paul Verrell}, journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology}, year={2004}, volume={32}, pages={421-427} }