Journal of Ethology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 191–196 | Cite as

Partner recognition in a perennially monogamous pipefish, Corythoichthys haematopterus

  • Atsushi Sogabe
Short Communication


The pipefish Corythoichthys haematopterus, which forms lifelong pair bonds and exhibits strict monogamy, performs a daily ritualized intrapair interaction, called the greeting. Cross-pairing experiments were performed to examine the capacity for partner recognition in C. haematopterus during the greeting. When pair members were released into an artificially constructed greeting arena, they exhibited typical greeting behavior immediately after contact. In contrast, when males and females from different pairs met, almost no displays were exchanged. These results strongly suggest that paired C. haematopterus can recognize their own partners, irrespective of the meeting location.


Individual recognition Monogamy Greeting behavior Syngnathidae Corythoichthys haematopterus Mate fidelity 



Many thanks to T.W. Miller for kindly reading the manuscript. The study was carried out with the assistance of the UWA Marine Institute and supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists.


  1. Balshine-Earn S, Lotem A (1998) Individual recognition in a cooperatively breeding cichlid: evidence from video playback experiments. Behaviour 135:369–386Google Scholar
  2. Bee MA, Gerhardt HC (2002) Individual voice recognition in a territorial frog (Rana catesbeiana). Proc R Soc B 269:1443–1448CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheney DL, Seyfarth RM (1980) Vocal recognition in free-ranging vervet monkeys. Anim Behav 28:362–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clark JA, Boersma PD, Olmsted DM (2006) Name that tune: call discrimination and individual recognition in Magellanic penguins. Anim Behav 72:1141–1148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davis MS (1987) Acoustically mediated neighbor recognition in the North American bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 21:185–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dawson CE (1977) Review of the pipefish genus Corythoichthys with description of three new species. Copeia 2:295–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Falls JB, Brooks RJ (1975) Individual recognition by song in white-throated sparrows. II. Effects of location. Can J Zool 53:1412–1420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fricke H (1973) Individual partner recognition in fish: field studies on Amphiprion bicinctus. Naturwissenschaften 60:204–205CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Godard R (1991) Long-term memory of individual neighbours in a migratory songbird. Nature 350:228–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gronell AM (1984) Courtship, spawning and social organization of the pipefish, Corythoichthys intestinalis (Pisces: Syngnathidae) with notes on two congeneric species. Z Tierpsychol 65:1–24Google Scholar
  11. Herald ES (1959) From pipefish to seahorse: a study of phylogenetic relationships. Proc Calif Acad Sci 29:465–473Google Scholar
  12. Insley AJ (2000) Long-term vocal recognition in the northern fur seal. Nature 406:404–405CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Matsumoto K, Yanagisawa Y (2001) Monogamy and sex role reversal in the pipefish Corythoichthys haematopterus. Anim Behav 61:163–170CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Matsumoto K, Sogabe A, Yanagisawa Y (2010) Male ornamentation in a sex-role reversed pipefish Corythoichthys haematopterus. Ethology 116:226–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mehlis M, Bakker TCM, Frommen JG (2008) Smells like sib spirit: kin recognition in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) is mediated by olfactory cues. Anim Cogn 11:643–650CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Miller DB (1979) The acoustic basis of mate recognition by female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Anim Behav 27:376–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Myrberg AA, Riggio RJ (1985) Acoustically mediated individual recognition by a coral reef fish (Pomacentrus partitus). Anim Behav 33:411–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Reese ES (1991) How behavior influences community structure of butterflyfishes (Family Chaetodontidae) on Pacific coral reefs. Ecol Int Bull 19:29–41Google Scholar
  19. Rufino MM, Jones DA (2001) Binary individual recognition in Lysmata debelius (Decapoda: Hippolytidae) under laboratory conditions. J Crust Biol 21:388–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sayigh LS, Tyack PL, Wells RS, Solow AR, Scott MD, Irvine AB (1998) Individual recognition in wild bottlenose dolphins: a field test using playback experiments. Anim Behav 57:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sogabe A (2003) Greeting behavior in the messmate pipefish Corythoichthys haematopterus. Movie Archives of Animal Behavior Data No.: momo031218ch01b.
  22. Sogabe A, Yanagisawa Y (2007a) The function of daily greetings in a monogamous pipefish Corythoichthys haematopterus. J Fish Biol 71:585–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sogabe A, Yanagisawa Y (2007b) Sex-role reversal of a monogamous pipefish without higher potential reproductive rate in females. Proc R Soc B 274:2959–2963CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Sogabe A, Yanagisawa Y (2008) Maintenance of pair bond during the non-reproductive season in a monogamous pipefish Corythoichthys haematopterus. J Ethol 26:195–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sogabe A, Matsumoto K, Yanagisawa Y (2007) Mate change reduces the reproductive rate of males in a monogamous pipefish Corythoichthys haematopterus: the benefit of long-term pair bonding. Ethology 113:764–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tibbetts EA (2002) Visual signals of individual identity in the wasp Polistes fuscatus. Proc R Soc B 269:1423–1428CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Tibbetts EA, Dale J (2007) Individual recognition: it is good to be different. Trend Ecol Evol 22:529–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Whiteman EA, Côté IM (2004) Monogamy in marine fishes. Biol Rev 79:351–375CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Yabuta S (1999) Behavioral rules and tail-up display in extra- and intra-pair interactions of the butterflyfish, Chaetofon lunulatus. J Ethol 17:79–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Yabuta S (2002) Uncertainty in partner recognition and the tail-up display in a monogamous butterflyfish. Anim Behav 63:165–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Biosphere ScienceHiroshima UniversityHigashi-HiroshimaJapan

Personalised recommendations