, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 183-191

Sound production and reproductive behaviour of the armoured catfish Corydoras paleatus (Callichthyidae)

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Abstract

Sound production during reproductive behaviour, dyadic encounters and distress situations was investigated in the callichthyid catfish Corydoras paleatus. Sounds were broad-band, pulsed, acoustic signals produced during abduction of the pectoral spines. Only males emitted trains of sounds during courting and trains of sounds of shorter duration during dyadic encounters. Several males, which are usually smaller than females, courted one gravid female without obvious cooperation or competition between them. During mating, one previously vocalizing male clasped the female's barbels with one pectoral spine and inseminated the eggs. The number of successful spawnings, days until spawning, and number of eggs laid was not related to the number of males (one, two or three) combined with one female. Males did not behave aggressively towards each other during courting or in dyadic encounters. In distress situations, when fish were hand held, both sexes and juveniles produced single sounds. The dominant frequency was negatively correlated with body size and the sound duration was positively correlated with relative length of pectoral spines (standardized to body length). This acoustical behaviour in C. paleatus differs considerably from Hoplosternum thoracatum, a representative of the callichthyine subfamily, in which vocalization was observed during territorial behaviour in males and aggressive behaviour in both sexes. This is the first report of a major difference in vocalizing behaviour within one teleost family.