Reproduction and Early Life History
Little is known about the reproduction and early life history of lophiiform fishes (Breder and Rosen, 1966; Pietsch, 1976, 1984a; Martin and Drewry, 1978; Pietsch and Grobecker, 1987), detailed information being available for only a few members of the Lophiidae, Antennariidae, and most ceratioid families. Scattered bits of published data are also available for the Tetrabrachiidae, Brachionichthyidae, Chaunacidae, and Ogcocephalidae, but nothing has been reported for the Lophichthyidae.
Observations of courtship and spawning behavior have been reported for only a few antennariids. Eggs and larvae have been adequately described for two of the 25 known species of Lophiidae; larvae, but not eggs, have been described in a third species. Within the Antennariidae, unequal information concerning early life-history stages is available for only four of the 42 recognized species. For the Tetrabrachiidae and Brachionichthyidae, all that is published is a mention of egg attachment to dorsal-fin rays and substrate, respectively (Pietsch and Grobecker, 1980). For chaunacids and ogcocephalids, aside from brief descriptions of ovarian structure, limited (by available material) developmental series of an unidentified species of each of two genera (Chaunax and Ogcocephalus) were described by Pietsch (1984a). Finally, larvae, but not eggs, have been adequately described for most families of the Ceratioidei. For a full summary, see Pietsch (1984a), Pietsch and Grobecker (1987), and numerous references cited therein.
Probably the most striking characteristic of early ontogeny in lophiiform fishes is that eggs are spawned encapsulated within a non-adhesive, balloon-shaped mucoid mass (Ray, 1961) or, more typically, a continuous, ribbon-like sheath of gelatinous mucous, often referred to as an "egg-raft" or "veil" (with some exceptions, see Pietsch and Grobecker, 1980, 1987). These egg-rafts are complex structures of positive bouyancy that float freely at the surface. Each is a product of two confluent ovaries within which each individual egg floats in a separate chamber provided with openings for the circulation of water (Rasquin, 1958; Martin and Drewry, 1978, and numerous references cited therein). This peculiar structure, differing considerably from any other ovarian product known in fishes (Breder and Rosen, 1966), is an excellent device for broadcasting a large number of small eggs over great geographic distances providing for development in relatively productive surface waters (Gudger, 1905; Pietsch and Grobecker, 1980, 1987).
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