Ichthyological Research

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 115–123 | Cite as

Reproductive behavior and mate fidelity in the monogamous goby,Valenciennea longipinnis

  • Takeshi Takegaki
  • Akinobu Nakazono


Reproductive behavior and mate fidelity of the gobiid fish,Valenciennea longipinnis, were studied on the coral reef at Sesoko Island, Okinawa, Japan. These fish usually live in pairs, not only foraging together for benthic animals in sandy areas, but also constructing several burrows within their home range. Before spawning, both fish, although mainly the male, constructed a mound, piling up dead-coral fragments, pebbles, shells, sand and algae onto one of the burrows. After spawning an egg mass on the ceiling of the burrow, the female stayed outside and continued the construction and maintenance of the mound for 3–5 days until hatching, while the male tended the eggs inside. Mate guarding of females seemed to prevent males from monopolizing several females. Although some pairs showed mate fidelity through several spawnings, more than half of the pairs broke up after only one spawning. The pair bond was broken by mate desertion and the disappearance of each sex. Both sexes preferred larger spawning partners; larger females spawned more eggs and larger males provided better egg care. Mate desertion occurred when larger potential mates, relative to the current partner, became available. The frequency of solitary individuals was higher in males than in females, resulting in females deserting their mates more often than males. Two factors seem to have facilitated mate desertion: (1) occurrence of size mis-matched pairing and (2) overlapping home ranges.

Key words

Pair bond mate availability monogamy parental care mound 


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takeshi Takegaki
    • 1
  • Akinobu Nakazono
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries, Faculty of AgricultureKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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