Active female mate choice in the weakly electric fish brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Philip K. Stoddard

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Keith Condon

Third Advisor's Name

Alice Clarke

Date of Defense



B. pinnicaudatus is a nocturnal, pulse type weakly electric fish. Males are larger than females and emit a longer duration, higher amplitude electric organ discharge (EOD), Sexual dimorphism in electric communication signals is used as a model for neurobiology and endocrinology, but the relevant behavior (e.g. mate choice) has been largely neglected. I conducted a series of unforced mate choice tests on gravid females in the lab. Females given a choice between a female and a male actively chose a male if he was relatively large. Females given a choice between large and small males chose larger males. Three correlated sexually dimorphic characters (body length, EOD duration, EOD amplitude) were larger for the chosen males. To dissociate these correlated male characters, I tested females on electric playback stimuli of large and small males. Results were inconclusive because female behavior changed over the period of the study.




If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

This document is currently not available here.



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).