On three island beaches in Iliamna Lake, Alaska, large numbers of male sockeye salmon gathered and spawned in artificial excavations that mimicked a female's nest immediately prior to spawning, while apparently ignoring the control site. The number of males attracted was correlated positively with changes in the operational sex ratio. In contrast, on the mainland beach examined, no reaction to the artificial nests was apparent. The results are discussed in terms of mate searching behaviour by males, the duration of the spawning period, and associated selection pressures on males to use characteristics of their environment that provide information on availability of females.
Additional publication details
Use of female nest characteristics in the sexual behaviour of male sockeye salmon