Survival of the Sneaky
SUNY College at Oneonta
This "clicker case" about female mimicry in spawning salmon was developed for an introductory-level, non-majors biology course to help address one of the most common misconceptions that students have about natural selection, namely, that only the "strong" survive and reproduce. Female mimicry is an alternative male reproductive strategy. As observed in spawning salmon, some males assume certain female characteristics that enable them to remain close to reproducing females without being viewed as competition by more dominant males. Students learn about concepts of natural selection, including overproduction and differential reproductive success, as well as patterns of natural selection. The case is presented in class via a PowerPoint presentation (~3MB) that is punctuated by multiple-choice questions students answer using personal response systems ("clickers").
- Learn about natural selection: variability, inheritability, and unequal reproductive success.
- Understand what is meant by Darwinian fitness.
- Understand the three patterns of natural selection in a population: directional, stabilizing, and disruptive.
KeywordsFemale mimicry; satellite strategy; natural selection; fitness; evolution; morphology; phenotype; adaptation; variability; inheritability; reproductive success; directional selection; stabilizing selection; disruptive selection; fish; Salmon
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsClicker, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Evolutionary Biology | Zoology |