Behaviour 2019
Motivation Levels in Agonistic Encounters of the Flag Cichlid From Central Amazonia ​Change With Sex
Carolina G. Sarmento1, Thaís B. Carvalho2, Helder L. Queiroz1. 1Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá—IDSM-OS/MCT, Tefé, AM, Brazil; 2Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus, AM, Brazil

Conflicts play an important part in the social behavior of fishes, and are crucial for the acquisition of resources that are limited in the wild. Changes in the agonistic behavior can arise based on specific individual traits, and may influence the reproductive behavior of the species. Here we propose that individuals of the same or the opposite sex of Mesonauta insignis can show different degrees of engagement on the contests, and modulate their agonistic behavior. We tested this prediction in 72 contests of paired adults of this Amazonian cichlid, in a neutral and controlled environment. Male-male conflicts showed longer latency times than male-female conflicts, but aggressive levels and conflict durations were similar among intra and intersexual interactions. Our results suggest that male and female of Mesonauta insignis are potential contestants for monopolization of resources, but males of the species are more cautious before engaging in agonistic encounters with other males, but not with females. These differences unveil distinct dynamics in the agonistic behavior of males and females, and possibly reflect the particular sex roles present in this species.