Vol. 39 No. 3, 2000
Resource Limitation Underlying Reproductive Strategies of Coral Reef Fishes: A Hypothesis
Institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan 115
Rong-Quen Jan (2000)
A wide variety of complex spawning systems occurs in coral reef fishes.
Among them, the demersal spawners and pelagic spawners are dominant in
terms of both numbers of taxonomic groups and individuals. Here I
propose a hypothesis to explain the reproductive strategies of these
demersal and pelagic spawners. This hypothesis is based on 2 primary
assumptions: that coral-reef fishes are selected to spawn demersal
eggs; and that the nesting resource (i.e., substrate) is limited in the
environment. Thus re- source limitation is assumed to be the prime
factor accounting for different spawning strategies. This hypothesis
postulates that fishes which succeed in obtaining appropriate nesting
substrates will spawn demersally, whereas those that fail to obtain
suitable sites tend to spawn pelagically. Predictions from this
resource-limitation hy- pothesis are in accord with many aspects of the
available data. Therefore this hypothesis might be proposed as an
alternative to established hypotheses to explain how different spawning
patterns of coral reef fishes have occurred.
Key words: Damselfish, Nest, Reproduction, Spawning, Territoriality.
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