The cichlid Telmatochromis temporalis may have two choices in life: mate with a single partner and grow to a large size, or remain small and mate with as many females as possible.
According to new research from Katoh, Munehara and Kohda of the Department of Bio- and Geosciences at Osaka City University, there appears to be evidence to suggest that this cichlid from Lake Tanganyika has two different investment patterns.
The fish, which is a biparental substrate spawner, usually has males which grow much bigger than the females and they normally guard a nest within a territory defended from rival males.
However, in about a fifth of nests, much smaller males are found which appear to have a rather different reproductive strategy.
DNA analyses of these little males showed that they weren\'t the offspring of the larger fish and that they managed to father some of the offspring in about three of every five nests, while not being involved with the associated hassles of nest building, territory guarding or raising the brood.
The team says that the little cichlids act as brood parasites on the larger males and they conclude that the species faces two choices when it wants to reproduce.
For more details see the paper: Katoh R, Munehara H, Kohda M. (2005) - Alternative Male Mating Tactics of the Substrate Brooding Cichlid Telmatochromis temporalis in Lake Tanganyika. Zoolog Sci. 2005 May;22(5):555-61.