Polar Biology

, Volume 28, Issue 11, pp 828–832 | Cite as

Nesting behavior of the icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus at Bouvetøya Island, Southern Ocean

  • H. William. DetrichIII
  • Christopher D. Jones
  • Stacy Kim
  • Anthony W. North
  • Andrew Thurber
  • Marino Vacchi
Original Paper


We describe in situ observations on nesting by the Scotia Sea (or blackfin) icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus (Lönnberg) that constitute the first substantive evidence of egg brooding and parental care by species of the family Channichthyidae. At Boutetoya Island six fish, all apparently male, were observed guarding egg nests at depths of 141–148 m during an ROV deployment. Eggs were laid as aggregated, round masses (~20–25 cm diameter) in shallow, circular depressions (~1-m diameter, ~20-cm depth) that were probably excavated by the parent(s) to protect the nests. The fish guardians remained tenaciously in contact with the eggs despite disturbances caused by the ROV, reacting to this threat with stress and defense behaviors. Because brooding fishes are more susceptible to the population impacts from trawl fisheries, we argue that this life history should be kept in mind in designing management schemes.


Parental Care Remotely Operate Vehicle Nest Behavior South Orkney Island Macrobenthic Organism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge the excellent logistic support provided to the ICEFISH cruise by Sandra K. Parker (Northeastern University), the personnel of Raytheon Polar Services Company, and by the captain and crew of the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant OPP-0132032 to H. William Detrich (Northeastern University). Publication number 3 from the ICEFISH Cruise of 2004 (H.W.D. Chief Scientist, RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer). For more information, visit


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. William. DetrichIII
    • 1
  • Christopher D. Jones
    • 2
  • Stacy Kim
    • 3
  • Anthony W. North
    • 4
  • Andrew Thurber
    • 3
  • Marino Vacchi
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.United States Antarctic Marine Living Resources ProgramSouthwest Fisheries Science CenterLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Moss Landing Marine LaboratoriesMoss LandingUSA
  4. 4.British Antarctic SurveyCambridgeUK
  5. 5.Università degli Studi di GenovaGenovaItaly

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