No Evidence for Color or Size Preference in Either Sex of a Dichromatic Stream Fish, Percina Roanoka

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Sexual dimorphism is hypothesized to be the result of differential selection pressures between the sexes.Dimorphic traits can serve as indicators of mate quality, altering mate preferences in the opposite sex in favor of a conspicuous trait. Common indicators of mate quality include color and size, with traditional assumptions and evidence predicting a preference for more colorful and/or larger sized mates in many species. Both male and female preferences for more colorful and larger mates within a species are rarely examined simultaneously, however. We examined a sexually dichromatic freshwater fish, Percina roanokaand found that male coloration is positively correlated with size, suggesting color may function as an indicator of viability. We tested preferences for coloration and size in both sexes in a dichotomous mate choice setup in which only visual signals were exchanged. Neither females nor males exhibited a color or size preference in individuals of the opposite sex. Visual cues alone therefore appear to be insufficient to elicit a significant preference in both sexes of this species. Male coloration in P. roanoka does not appear to be driven solely by female preference.


Ciccotto, P. J., Gumm, J. M., & Mendelson, T. C. (2014). No evidence for color or size preference in either sex of a dichromatic stream fish, Percina roanoka.Environmental biology of fishes, 97(2), 187-195.

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