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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 370:185-198 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07661

Heterospecific mating and species recognition in the planktonic marine copepods Temora stylifera and T. longicornis

Erica Goetze1,2,*, Thomas Kiørboe1

1National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Oceanography Section, Technical University of Denmark, Kavalergården 6,  2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
2Present address: Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1000 Pope Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA

ABSTRACT: Many planktonic copepods use diffusible pheromone or hydromechanical signals to remotely detect the presence of potential mates. To determine whether these mating signals also play a role in species recognition and mate choice, we observed and video recorded (3D) mate-finding and pursuit behaviors in heterospecific and conspecific mating crosses in a pair of congeneric, partially sympatric species (Temora stylifera and T. longicornis) in the laboratory. The species appear to have asymmetrical pre-mating isolation, with T. longicornis males readily pursuing T. stylifera females to mate contact and capture, but with little mate-finding activity observed in the reverse cross. Males of T. longicornis pursuing heterospecific females executed a number of behaviors known to facilitate successful pheromone trail following and mate capture in conspecific mating, including accelerated swimming in a ‘signal-scanning’ mode to recover a lost pheromone trail, reversal of the tracking direction in cases when the male initiated tracking in the incorrect direction, and accelerated swimming speeds when in the presence of a pheromone signal but prior to locating the trail. Detailed analyses of mate-tracking behavior in T. longicornis male × T. stylifera female crosses gave no indication that males were aware they were pursuing heterospecific females prior to mate contact, indicating that diffusible pheromone and hydromechanical signals are not used, either singly or in combination, for species recognition in this mating pair. Heterospecific mating attempts among sympatric, congeneric copepods may commonly proceed to mate capture, and incur fitness costs to either or both mating partners.


KEY WORDS: Mate choice · Behavioral isolation · Mating asymmetry · Diffusible pheromone · Hydromechanical signals


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Cite this article as: Goetze E, Kiørboe T (2008) Heterospecific mating and species recognition in the planktonic marine copepods Temora stylifera and T. longicornis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 370:185-198. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07661

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