cost of reproduction hypothesis, reproduction, western mosquitofish, animal behavior


The cost of reproduction hypothesis suggests that current reproduction has inherent tradeoffs with future reproduction. These tradeoffs can be both in the form of energy allocated to current offspring as opposed to somatic maintenance and future reproduction (allocation costs), or as an increase in mortality as a result of morphological or physiological changes related to reproduction (viability costs). Individuals may be able to decrease viability costs by altering behavior. Female western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis experience a reduction in swimming ability as a consequence of pregnancy. We test for a viability cost of reproduction, and for behavioral compensation in pregnant female G. affinis by measuring survival of females in early and later stages of pregnancy when exposed to predation. Late-stage pregnant females experience a 70% greater probability of mortality compared to early-stage pregnant females. The presence of a refuge roughly doubled the odds of survival of both early and late-stage pregnant females. However, there was no interaction between refuge availability and stage of pregnancy. These data do not provide evidence for behavioral compensation by female G. affinis for elevated viability costs incurred during later stages of pregnancy. Behavioral compensation may be constrained by other aspects of the cost of reproduction.

Original Publication Citation

Laidlaw CT, JM Condon, and MC Belk. 2014. Viability costs of reproduction and behavioral compensation in western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis). PLOS One 9:1-5.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date







Life Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

Included in

Biology Commons