Marine Biology

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 247–256 | Cite as

Social inhibition of maturation in females of the temperate wrasse Pseudolabrus celidotus and a comparison with the blennioid Tripterygion varium

  • G. P. Jones
  • S. M. Thompson


In two temperate reef fish, Pseudolabrus celidotus (Bloch and Schneider) and Tripterygion varium (Bloch and Schneider) studied near Leigh, New Zealand, most spawning activity was concentrated during the first 2 months of spawning seasons which lasted about 5 months. In P. celidotus, maturation and spawning of first-year females (0+) was delayed with respect to older (≥1+yr) females. Within the 0+ age class, the minimum size of maturation declined as the spawning season proceeded. However, in all females of T. varium, ripening and spawning took place over the same time ranges. Observations on the seasonal patterns of female aggression suggested that larger female P. celidotus were socially inhibiting the maturation of small females. The level of interaction was high compared to that in T. varium, and reached a peak over the onset of the spawning season. This hypothesis was tested by the removal of larger (≥1+yr) female P. celidotus from a field population. The remaining 0+ females increased in ovary weight and matured earlier than those in an undisturbed area. We argue from this experiment that it is of advantage for P. celidotus females to spawn early in the season and of advantage to inhibit other females from doing so. Two possible reasons are suggested, the first applying to sexchanging species such as P. celidotus, the second to temperate-water fishes in general.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. P. Jones
    • 1
  • S. M. Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Research LaboratoryUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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