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S. Balshine-Earn (1996)

Reproductive rates, operational sex ratios and mate choice in St. Peter’s fish

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 39:107-116.

Operational sex ratio (OSR) theory predicts that sexual di¤erences in potential reproductive rates (PRRs) create biases in the OSR and thus determine the relative strength of sexual selection (competition and choice) operating on each sex. Although this theory is well accepted, empirical studies that quantify it are still lacking. This paper presents such a study. I measured the natural OSR of Galilee St. Peter’s Þsh (Sarotherodon galilaeus) in the Þeld (Lake Kinneret) and examined the direction of mate choice in the laboratory. The OSR in Lake Kinneret was male biased. Both a male-biased sex ratio and higher male reproductive rates (twice as fast as females) contributed to the skew in the OSR, but the sexual di¤erences in PRR were shown to be the main factor causing variation in the OSR. Females, the sex with the lower PRR, were more selective for mates. The faster male reproductive rate may explain why females are more selective for mates despite varying less in quality.