Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 397-404

First online:

Filial cannibalism by mouthbrooding males of the cardinal fish,Apogon doederleini, in relation to their physical condition

  • Noboru OkudaAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Ehime University
  • , Yasunobu YanagisawaAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Ehime University

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Paternal brood cannibalism was observed in a population ofApogon doederleini in Shikoku Island, Japan. Of 361 egg masses mouthbrooded by males, 47 disappeared within a day of spawning. A stomach check with a syringe ascertained that they had been consumed by the males. The frequency of this cannibalism increased as the breeding season advanced. As males completed 4–7 breeding cycles in a breeding season and spent 80% of the time mouthbrooding without taking ordinary food, their physical condition deteriorated greatly late in the breeding season. We concluded that parental physical condition is an important factor in the occurrence of brood cannibalism.

Key words

Paternal care Fasting Entire brood cannibalism Apogonidae