Kin recognition in a clonal fish, Poecilia formosa

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Abstract

Relatedness strongly influences social behaviors in a wide variety of species. For most species, the highest typical degree of relatedness is between full siblings with 50% shared genes. However, this is poorly understood in species with unusually high relatedness between individuals: clonal organisms. Although there has been some investigation into clonal invertebrates and yeast, nothing is known about kin selection in clonal vertebrates. We show that a clonal fish, the Amazon molly (Poecilia formosa), can distinguish between different clonal lineages, associating with genetically identical, sister clones, and use multiple sensory modalities. Also, they scale their aggressive behaviors according to the relatedness to other females: they are more aggressive to non-related clones. Our results demonstrate that even in species with very small genetic differences between individuals, kin recognition can be adaptive. Their discriminatory abilities and regulation of costly behaviors provides a powerful example of natural selection in species with limited genetic diversity.

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Makowicz, A. M., Tiedemann, R., Steele, R. N., & Schlupp, I. (2016). Kin recognition in a clonal fish, Poecilia formosa. PLoS ONE, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158442

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