Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 301–310 | Cite as

The timing of spawning and egg production as constraints on male mating success in a simultaneously hermaphroditic fish

  • Eric A. Fischer
  • Preston D. Hardison
Full paper


The evolutionary stability of simultaneous hermaphroditism depends in part on the existence of constraints on the potential for male mating success. In the seabasses (Serranidae), several species of simultaneous hermaphrodites divide each day's clutch of eggs into parcels that are spawned sequentially and alternately with a partner. This behavior is thought to be one source of constraint on male mating success. A possible related source is the pattern of egg production. A study was therefore performed on the chalk bass,Serranus tortugarum, to examine this pattern. The results indicate that eggs are readied for spawning gradually over the course of the daily spawning period. The pattern of egg production acts jointly with spawning behavior in constraining male mating success. This pattern may be a pre-existing state to which the mating system has been adjusted, or it may have co-evolved with the mating system.

Key words

Caribbean Coral reef fishes Mating systems Reproduction Serranidae Sex allocation 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric A. Fischer
    • 1
  • Preston D. Hardison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology NI-25University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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