Lake Malawi Species • Female Mbuna Aggression

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Female Mbuna Aggression

Postby Smeagol » Tue Jul 20, 2021 10:25 pm

My female yellow labs often chase each other. I understand why males chase other males. And I understand why males chase females. But why do females chase other females? Is it simple territoriality?
75g = Yellow-tail Acei, Yellow Labs, Maingano
20g Planted = Serpae Tetras, Lemon Tetra, Amano Shrimp
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Re: Female Mbuna Aggression

Postby sir_keith » Tue Jul 20, 2021 11:52 pm

The same reason males chase other males. :fish:
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Re: Female Mbuna Aggression

Postby Smeagol » Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:53 am

sir_keith wrote:The same reason males chase other males. :fish:

Males chase other males because they want exclusive access to all the females, right? So, you're saying that females chase other females because they want exclusive access to all the females? That doesn't seem right.
75g = Yellow-tail Acei, Yellow Labs, Maingano
20g Planted = Serpae Tetras, Lemon Tetra, Amano Shrimp
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Re: Female Mbuna Aggression

Postby DJRansome » Wed Jul 21, 2021 2:55 pm

Both males and females fight for dominance...right to spawn and/or right to eat and just survival of the species.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Female Mbuna Aggression

Postby Smeagol » Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:50 pm

DJRansome wrote:Both males and females fight for dominance...right to spawn and/or right to eat and just survival of the species.

That makes sense. I guess I was thinking too narrowly.
75g = Yellow-tail Acei, Yellow Labs, Maingano
20g Planted = Serpae Tetras, Lemon Tetra, Amano Shrimp
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Re: Female Mbuna Aggression

Postby sir_keith » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:23 pm

Smeagol wrote:
sir_keith wrote:The same reason males chase other males. :fish:

Males chase other males because they want exclusive access to all the females, right? So, you're saying that females chase other females because they want exclusive access to all the females? That doesn't seem right.


No, that's not right at all.

DJRansome wrote:Both males and females fight for dominance...right to spawn and/or right to eat and just survival of the species.


Well, yes; sort of.

It's not dominance per se; it is whatever ensures the propagation of the germline, be that at the individual or the species level. All living things, whether male, female, or something else, share an evolutionary history whose prime directive is to pass one's genome on to subsequent generations as efficiently and profusely as possible. There are two aspects to this. First, an individual will attempt to produce as many progeny as possible, whilst trying to limit the number of progeny produced by conspecifics. In species whose mode of reproduction is exclusively sexual, males will compete primarily with males (inhibiting their access to females), and females will compete primarily with females (inhibiting their access to males).

But that's only part of the story. Producing lots of progeny is pointless unless significant numbers of them (>2) survive to reproductive age themselves. Thus one wants to maximize the fitness of one's progeny, and the most effective way to do that is to maximize their genetic heterogeneity. This constitutes strong evolutionary pressure on both males and females to have multiple sexual partners, not only during their reproductive lifetimes, but even within the context of a single spawning event. All cichlids that have been studied, even those we tend to think of as 'socially monogamous,' do this.
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