Social structure and reproductive behavior of the callionymid fish Callionymus bairdi (Gobiesociformes: Callionymidae): with notes on male alternative reproductive tactics

Matthew L. Wittenrich and Adeljean L. F. C. Ho

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 17-28, Volume 19, Issue 1 – 21 January 2013

Despite the abundance and diversity of callionymids in marine environments, information on the social structure and mating systems of the group are rare. Most research has suggested that callionymids are non-territorial, polygynous spawners where male mating opportunities are controlled by dominance hierarchies, which in turn, are governed by body size. Here, we investigate the social structure and reproductive behavior of Callionymus bairdi through observations of wild and captive fish. Males greater than 8 cm SL held territories ranging in size from 6.81-10.9 m2, within which, females maintained territories of 0.182-1.41 m2. Subordinate males were found to move freely through the territories of larger males and compete for mating opportunities with females. The number of subordinate males and females living within territorial boundaries correlated strongly with the size of the territory. Male alternative reproductive tactics, including female mimicry and saboteur males, are discussed. 

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