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Rachel L. Moran

Rachel L. Moran

Master’s Thesis Research
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL

Mate Choice Copying, Nuptial Coloration, and Anti-Predator Behavior in Banded Darters and Fantail Darters. I performed mate choice copying trials using two species of darters with differences in male secondary sexual trait expression and parental care: Etheostoma zonale (no parental care; males exhibit bright nuptial coloration) and E. flabellare (male only parental care; males are cryptically colored). The objective of these experiments was to determine whether males and females will copy the mate choice of conspecifics, in order to elucidate how mate choice copying is affected by differences in parental care while controlling to some extent for ecological and phylogenetic differences. I also performed image analysis studies on these two species to quantify the lack of nuptial coloration in males in species of Etheostoma that have parental care. I investigated whether males with fully developed nuptial coloration compensate for any heightened predation risk this causes by adjusting their anti-predator behavior, fleeing instead of freezing.

Advisors: Drs. Bethia King  and Carl von Ende

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