Periodicity of Spawning of Two Temperate Damselfishes: Parma Microlepis and Chromis Dispilus
Few data are available on spawning periodicity in damselfishes from temperate latitudes. In this study, we present data on daily and seasonal patterns of spawning for the benthic feeding Parma microlepis, from Australia and the schooling planktivore Chromis dispilus, from New Zealand. Spawning periodicities differed considerably between the two species. Parma microlepis spawned asynchronously throughout the 3.5–4 month breeding season. In contrast, Chromis dispilus spawned in synchrony every 8 to 10 days over a 3.5–4 month breeding season. These patterns were consistent over three years. Neither spawning nor hatching events predictably coincided with a particular phase of the lunar cycle as reported for many other pomacentrids. Various environmental and biological factors are considered to act as cues for the timing of spawning or to playa role in determining survivorship of the young. We discuss the differences in spawning patterns of these species and other damselfishes in the context of their contrasting life styles. Benthic feeding and permanently territorial pomacentrid species (e.g., P. microlepis), may have synchronous or asynchronous spawning patterns. In temperate waters, however, they all appear to spawn asynchronously. We suggest that the social organization of such species enables neighboring males and females to come into contact during the breeding season without the need for synchrony. In contrast, all schooling planktivores (e.g., C. dispilus) spawn synchronously which may be necessary in facilitating interactions between nesting males and schooling females. The results from this study and a review of the literature suggest that many factors potentially influence the timing of reproduction. The relative importance of these factors probably varies among species and locations.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 November 1995
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