Ichthyological Research

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 223–229 | Cite as

Reproductive seasonality of the seaweed pipefish Syngnathus schlegeli (Syngnathidae) in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan

  • Atsushi Sogabe
  • Kie Mohri
  • Jun Shoji
Full Paper


Latitudinal variations in fitness-related traits have been reported in a variety of organisms. Intraspecific comparison of such traits among populations living under different environmental conditions is an effective approach for elucidating the cause and consequences of such latitudinal variations. In the present study, population demography, seasonal changes in somatic and reproductive conditions, and the occurrence of egg-brooding males were investigated in the seaweed pipefish, Syngnathus schlegeli, collected monthly in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan, in order to estimate the reproductive season and mating pattern. The findings were then compared with those reported for a population in Otsuchi Bay, northern Japan. We found that the reproductive season is longer in the Seto Inland Sea population (March–November) than in the Otsuchi Bay population (May–October), although reproductive activity may temporarily cease during August in the Seto Inland Sea population. Males of the Seto Inland Sea population brooded eggs that were at the same developmental stage, suggesting that males mate with only one female in a single brooding episode (i.e., monogamy)—in contrast to the Otsuchi Bay population, where a portion of males brooded eggs consisting of multiple clutches at different developmental stages, suggesting that multiple females contribute to a single brood (i.e., polygamy). Additionally, we found that the standard lengths of both males and females are approximately 30 mm smaller in the Seto Inland Sea than in the Otsuchi Bay population. These results suggest that the multiple mating by males in a single brood and the larger body size in the Otsuchi Bay population are results of fecundity selection on life history and behavioral traits to adapt to the shorter reproductive season and lower reproductive efficiency in this relatively cold environment.


Egg brooding Breeding season Body size Bergmann’s rule Latitudinal compensation 



We are grateful to the members of the Takehara Fisheries Research Station for their help in collecting the fish. We acknowledge the Department of Biology, Ehime University for the opportunity to use their facilities. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. This research was partly supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists (09J03248) to AS, and the Ministry of the Environment, Japan [through Funds for the Overall Promotion of Environmental Research (RF0907)] to JS.


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

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

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