Diverse parentage relationships in paternal mouthbrooding fishes

Janine E. Abecia, Alison J. King, Osmar J. Luiz, David A. Crook, Dion Wedd, Sam C. Banks

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2 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


While mouthbrooding is not an uncommon parental care strategy in fishes, paternal mouthbrooding only occurs in eight fish families and is little studied. The high cost of paternal mouthbrooding to the male implies a low risk of investment in another male's offspring but genetic parentage patterns are poorly known for paternal mouthbrooders. Here, we used single-nucleotide polymorphism genetic data to investigate parentage relationships of broods of two mouthbrooders of northern Australian rivers, mouth almighty Glossamia aprion and blue catfish Neoarius graeffei. For N. graeffei, we found that the parentage pattern was largely monogamous with the brooder male as the sire. For G. aprion, the parentage pattern was more heterogeneous including observations of monogamous broods with the brooder male as the sire (73%), polygyny (13%), cuckoldry (6%) and a brood genetically unrelated to the brooder male (6%). Findings demonstrate the potential for complex interrelationships of male care, paternity confidence and mating behaviour in mouthbrooding fishes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20210576
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


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