There have been different ideas proposed about how pirate perch spawn. It is now believed that pirate perch spawn in underwater root masses and use their forward facing urogenital pores to deposit eggs and release sperm into the floating canopy. Recent research (from about 2004) strongly implies that the eggs are deposited and/or fertilized during multiple spawning events.
Male pirate perch guard nests from other males wishing to fertilize the eggs. These behaviors are aggressive and probably relate to pressures and competition for fertilization success in group spawning.
Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Spawning generally occurs in May in floating root masses. Female clutch size is about 100-400, depending on body size. In a single root mass up to 2000 total offspring were found to be present in a single nest. Female pirate perch thrust their heads and release their eggs into the root masses and males gather there to fertilize them.
Breeding interval: Breeding occurs once yearly.
Breeding season: Spawning occurs during the spring.
Range number of offspring: 100 to 400.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; sexual ; fertilization (External ); broadcast (group) spawning; oviparous
The extent of parental involvement in the rearing of pirate perch is debated. Some sources suggest that parents guard the nest until the larvae are a little less than a centimeter long. However more recent papers suggest that there is no evidence of extended parental care.
Parental Investment: no parental involvement; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female)
- Katula, R. 1992. The Spawning Mode of the Pirate Perch. Trop. Fish Hobby, 40: 156-159.
- Forbes, S., R. Richardson. 1920. Fishes of Illinois. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers.
- Fletcher, D., E. Dakin, B. Porter, J. Avise. 2004. Spawning Behavior and Genetic Parentage in the Pirate Perch (Aphredoderus sayanus), a Fish with an Enigmatic Reproductive Morphology.. Copeia, 1: 1-10.
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