Centropyge are long lived territorial coral reef inhabitants which adapt well to aquaria for extended periods (8+ years). They are well suited for reef and laboratory study of reproductive behavior and may also serve as a model for pomacanthids in general. The spawning behavior
of six species of Centropyge, including two Atlantic and four Pacific species, was studied in the laboratory for periods of 4 to 7 years. Extensive coral reef observations were made of three species of Centropyge. Harem groups of the same fishes were observed on consecutive days
on their reef territory. The proposed “Continuous Spawning Strategy” is distinct and different from marine spawning strategies described previously and consists of a well-sustained, stress-free, daily gamete production and results in larval dispersal which is maximal and continuous.
Based on reef and tank observations, Centropyge spawning consists of: (1) a crepuscular spawning ritual, which is (2) a regular daily activity of the harem group and (3) usually results in spawning, but may have other functions as well. (4) Each female spawns a moderate number of eggs
every day continuously throughout the year or during a season depending on latitude. (5) Territory has predominantly reproductive significance and is defined by the spawning ritual. (6) Each female spawns only once each day with the harem male. (7) The spawning ritual provides defense from
predation. Embryogenesis of Centropyge is presented. Egg size (0.6 mm) and development of all species studied in tank or on reef are similar; pigment distribution may aid in species identification early in development. Hatching occurs in 30–32 h at 20–24°C resulting
in very primitive larvae; yolk is absorbed by 100 h when the larvae are 2 mm. Sustained fecundity defined as eggs/fish/day, is in the range of 56–119, and expresses the continuous rate of gamete production.
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