Date of Defense

Spring 4-1997


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Rebecca Fuller, Kellogg Biological Station

Second Advisor

Stephen Malcolm, Biological Sciences


fish, polygamy


Female mate choice is often explained in terms of direct benefits including fertilization success, parental care, and territory. Alternative mating behaviors involve scenarios with intense male/male competition where males join copulating pairs by sneaking. In this experiment, female rainbow darters were observed under two separate sets of conditions to determine whether they behave in ways to encourage sneaky matings, copulations with multiple males. This would be beneficial to her because it would increase the chances of all her eggs becoming fertilized. Females showed a preference for two males over one when exhibiting active sexual behaviors. Females performed nosedigs in front of two males more often than in front of one. When females were allowed to mate with a male, with another male in close proximity, females made a significant effort to attract the second male.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only