Kin and population recognition in sympatric Lake Constance perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) : can assortative shoaling drive population divergence?

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Behrmann-Godel, Jasminca
Gerlach, Gabriele
Eckmann, Reiner
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Kin recognition
Population recognition
Kin structure
Prior studies have shown that perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) of Lake Constance belong to two genetically different but sympatric populations, and that local aggregations of juveniles and adults contain closely related kin. In this study we analysed the genetic structure of pelagic perch larvae to investigate, if kin structured shoals already exist during early ontogenetic development or might be the result of homing to natal sites. Analysis of the gene frequencies at five microsatellite loci revealed that 3 out of 5 pelagic aggregations of larvae showed significant accumulation of kin. To investigate possible mechanisms of shoal formation, we tested if perch use olfactory cues to recognize their kin. Choice tests in a fluviarium showed preference for odours of unfamiliar kin versus unfamiliar non-kin. Additionally, we showed that perch could differentiate between the odours of the two sympatric populations and significantly preferred unfamiliar and unrelated conspecifics of their own over the foreign population. Our results present a behavioural mechanism that could lead to the observed formation of kin structured shoals in perch. We further discuss if the ability to discriminate between the own and the foreign population could result in assortative mating within populations and thus form the basis of “socially mediated speciation” in perch.
Author Posting. © The Authors, 2005. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer-Verlag GmbH for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 59 (2006): 461-468, doi:10.1007/s00265-005-0070-3.
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