Communication and Perception
Prior to mating, it has been observed that terminal phase males seem to communicate with females in an attempt to attract them. Terminal phase males wait in their spawning sites for females to arrive. The terminal phase males then perform signal jumps, which involve quick, vertical dashes repeated over and over. The signal jumps are a way for terminal phase males to communicate to females that they are present and ready to mate and also to show that their site is free from predators. It was also observed that a terminal phase male sometimes extends this communication, which takes place prior to mating, by descending to the female and making contact with her dorsal area.
Females, on the other hand, are not known to exhibit behaviors like the terminal phase males. A female communicates to the male that she is ready to mate by turning her head upwards and then dashing towards the surface of the water.
Terminal phase males exhibit aggressive behavior to other fish, especially just before mating. This form of communication is demonstrated when they chase other organisms from the site they pick to spawn. Initial phase males and females are not typically aggressive unless they are developing into terminal phase males. This characteristic of aggression helps distinguish social rank among the terminal phase males, initial phase males, and initial phase females with the terminal phase males being the only group to behave aggressively towards other fish.
Body color seems to be important in communication, as color communicates social status and mood during aggressive encounters (see Behavior).
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile
Perception Channels: visual