Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 6, Issue 3–4, pp 377–389 | Cite as

Additions and amendments to the classification of reproductive styles in fishes

  • Eugene K. Balon


The guild concept is explained to represent peaks in the landscape of reproductive styles, which respond to the ‘altricial ⇄ precocial principle’ caused by the processes of heterochrony and saltation. Guilds represent evolutionary trends but not units. New evidence for a specialization within the mouthbrooding external bearers is reviewed, e.g. the unique specialization of juvenile feeding inside the female's buccal cavity. Ability to withstand extreme environments is revealed in some water-edge spawners and a new guild of nonguarding aerophils is distinguished. The walleye is placed into another guild and the significance of spawning inside of sponges discussed. Due to a better understanding of reproductive styles used by some external bearers, termed earlier as forehead, skin and possibly armpit and backpack brooders, a single guild of auxiliary brooders is named. The classification of internal bearers is revised into four redefined and renamed guilds — facultative internal bearers, obligate lecithotrophic livebearers, matrotrophous oophages and adephophages, and viviparous trophoderms.


Guilds Evolutionary trends Ecological classification Mouthbrooders Cyphotilapia Out-of-water spawning Sponges for spawning Livebearing Embryonic respiration Gamete exchange Investment in offspring 


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© Dr. W. Junk Publishers 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene K. Balon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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