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Reproductive behaviour and gender allocation in Serranus fasciatus, a hermaphroditic reef fish


Reproductive behaviour and gender allocation in Serranus fasciatus, a hermaphroditic reef fish



Animal Behaviour 356: 1601-1614



ISSN/ISBN: 0003-3472

DOI: 10.1016/s0003-3472(87)80053-2

The behavior and reproductive biology of Serranus fasciatus, hermaphroditic reef fish, was investigated to elucidate the relationship between its unusual gender-allocation pattern and its mating behavior. All individuals start life as simultaneous hermaphrodites, but the largest individuals in any location lose female function and become functional males. Males maintain permanent territories which contain one-eight hermaphrodites that they defend against other males. Males obtain high levels of mating success by pair-spawning with hermaphrodites within their harem. Hermaphrodites obtain low levels of male mating success through streaking, in which an individual joins a spawning pair and releases sperm, an alternative male mating tactic. Alternative male mating strategies are rare in other haremic reef fishes, but exist as a facultative strategy in hermaphroditic S. fasciatus, which obtain most of their mating success through female function. The absence of this gender-allocation pattern in socially similar species of reef fishes may be due to the spatial predictability and concentration of spawning in these species, which can favor alternative non-aggressive male mating tactics. However, the rarity of this complex pattern is probably also due to evolutionary constraints of the development of simultaneous hermaphroditism in other species.

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Accession: 018094962

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Related references

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