Norman, M.D., Finn, J. and Tregenza, T. (1999) Female impersonation as an alternative reproductive strategy in giant cuttlefish. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B: Biological Sciences, 266 (1426). p. 1347. ISSN 1471-2954
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Out of all the animals, cephalopods possess an unrivalled ability to change their shape and body patterns. Our observations of giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama) suggest this ability has allowed them to evolve alternative mating strategies in which males can switch between the appearance of a female and that of a male in order to foil the guarding attempts of larger males. At a mass breeding aggregation in South Australia, we repeatedly observed single small males accompanying mating pairs. While doing so, the small male assumed the body shape and patterns of a female. Such males were never attacked by the larger mate-guarding male. On more than 20 occasions, when the larger male was distracted by another male intruder, these small males, previously indistinguishable from a female, were observed to change body pattern and behaviour to that of a male in mating display. These small males then attempted to mate with the female, often with success. This potential for dynamic sexual mimicry may have played a part in driving the evolution of the remarkable powers of colour and shape transformation which characterize the cephalopods.
|Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information:||© 1999 The Royal Society|
|Institution:||The University of Leeds|
|Academic Units:||The University of Leeds > Faculty of Biological Sciences (Leeds) > Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology (Leeds)|
|Depositing User:||Repository Officer|
|Date Deposited:||14 Mar 2006|
|Last Modified:||05 Jul 2014 06:53|