Spawning timing of the cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, on a warm temperate rocky shore
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We observed spawning behaviors of the haremic cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus at a rocky reef in southern Japan. Females released pelagic eggs daily from June to September after a spawning ascent by pairs. When the high tide occurred between noon and evening (quarter moon to new or full moon), they spawned around the time of the tide providing fast offshore currents. For the rest of the lunar cycle, spawnings occurred during late afternoon independent of the state of the tide at the time of day. This spawning pattern is quite different from that of conspecifics on coral reefs that always spawn around the high tide at all lunar stages to avoid potential egg predators. The wrasse ascended high in the water column, probably because of its predator-immune characters as a cleaner. The steep slope of the study site seemed to contribute to releasing gametes far above aggregating planktivores. Thus, gametes were not subject to heavy predation. Current direction might not always affect survival of spawned pelagic eggs on the temperate reefs so crucially as it does on coral reefs. We conclude that spawning during unfavorable tidal conditions during the daytime may be better than spawning during the best tidal condition in the crepuscular period when predation pressure on adults will be high. Intraspecific variation in the timing and location of spawning of the wrasse may result from different conditions for larval survival.
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