Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

Reproductive behaviour and concurrent sound production of Gulf grouper Mycteroperca jordani (Epinephelidae) at a spawning aggregation site

TitleReproductive behaviour and concurrent sound production of Gulf grouper Mycteroperca jordani (Epinephelidae) at a spawning aggregation site
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsRowell T.J, Aburto-Oropeza O, Cota-Nieto J.J, Steele M.A, Erisman B.E
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Date Published2019/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-1112
Accession NumberWOS:000459212600008
KeywordsAtlantic cod; fish acoustic behaviour; fish spawning aggregation; Fisheries; goliath grouper; Gulf of California; Lek; Marine & Freshwater Biology; mating systems; mating-behavior; movement patterns; nassau grouper; of-california; pomacentrus-partitus; protogyny; red hind; reef fishes; sex-change

The reproductive and acoustic behaviours of Gulf grouper Mycteroperca jordani were studied at a spawning aggregation site in the southern Gulf of California, Mexico. In May 2015-2017, divers located and surveyed a spawning aggregation site within Cabo Pulmo National Park. Adult M. jordani conformed to a lek mating system in which large males formed territories over sand adjacent to a rocky reef that were spatially segregated from smaller females outside of courtship and spawning periods. Females moved into male territories during evening hours to spawn. Male courtship behaviours targeted a single female, included head shakes and burst rises and preceded pair spawning prior to sunset. Males and females displayed three shared colour phases, but four phases were sex-specific. During evening hours, courtship and spawning, both sexes exhibited sexual dichromatism concurrent with reproductive behaviours. The pair-spawning mating system and observations of bimodal size distributions by sex support previous claims of protogyny in the species. Males produced sounds during territorial patrols, courtship and spawning rushes, which corroborated the importance of acoustic communication within the behavioural repertoire associated with spawning. Long-term acoustic monitoring revealed increases in total sounds detected day(-1) from March through June with diel increases (e.g., evenings) that may be indicative of the spawning season. Observations of spawning on 12 consecutive evenings in May 2017 coupled with extended periods of sound production suggest that spawning does not follow a lunar rhythm. This first description of the mating system and sounds of the endangered M. jordani facilitates future development of seasonal and areal protections to restore and manage the species.

Short TitleJ. Fish Biol.
Student Publication: