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Tuesday, January 29 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
(P18) Role of the Lateral Line in Male-Male Territorial Competition in the Fathead Minnow, Pimephales Promelas

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AUTHORS. Hannah TerMarsch, Jessica Ward – Ball State University

ABSTRACT. The lateral line system of aquatic vertebrates is made up of mechanoreceptors called neuromasts that are arranged in a series of rows along the head and body, and serve to detect movement, vibration, and pressure gradients in the water. Although the structure and use of the lateral line system varies among species, the ability of receivers to exploit mechanosensory information has been shown to affect the outcome of interspecific interactions (e.g., predator evasion, or prey capture). However, comparatively less is known about how mechanosensory information might influence organismal decision-making during intraspecific interactions, such as reproduction. In this study, we investigated the role of the lateral line during male-male territorial interactions in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Male fathead minnows compete for territories and display several aggressive displays, including charging, tail flicking, and broadside (lateral) threats—all of which displace water. Receivers who exploit such information could more accurately assess the condition or level of aggressive motivation of their opponent. We pharmacologically manipulated the lateral line of breeding male minnows using aminoglycoside antibiotics and conducted a behavioral experiment that paired males with and without access to mechanosensory information in territorial contests. Our results indicate that mechanosensory signals are likely an important component of male-male aggressive communication and provide insight into the evolution of complex signals in fishes. These data also suggest that antibiotics in streams and rivers have potential to alter intraspecific interactions in natural populations, with significant ecological and evolutionary effects.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm

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