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The extraordinary breeding habits of the catfish Mystus aor and Mystus seenghala

The extraordinary breeding habits of the catfish Mystus aor and Mystus seenghala

Proceedings Natl Inst Science India Pt B Biol Science 28(3): 193-200

Both species breed in the Cauvery in April and May. They build nests, simple circular pits in sand and silt behind projecting slabs of rock, in the bed of the river after the first floods of the SW. monsoon. Three nests of M. aor and one of M. seenghala were located in 1939 and 6 more in 1940. Only one parent, the male, was observed to guard the nest. Eggs were never found in any of the nests. The entire ventral surface of the breeding male was inflamed and bright red in color. Sections of the ventral skin revealed the presence of elongated villiform processes typically with dilated ends and orifices, depending from the abdominal surface. On the analogy of the South American catfish Platystacus supported by the absence of eggs in the nests, it is presumed that the eggs are incubated by the male apparently attached to its ventral surface by the villiform processes. The young congregate in a dense shoal under the parent and feed on a milky white fluid secreted by the highly vascularized ventral skin of the fish. Chemical analysis showed that the fluid consists largely of protein.

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Related references

The extraordinary breeding habits of the catfish Mystus aor (Hamilton) and Mystus eeenghala (Sykes). Proceedings of the National Institute of Sciences of India, 28B 193-200, 1962

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