Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 75, Issue 4, pp 471–482 | Cite as

A Comparative Description of Mating Behaviour in the Endemic Telmatherinid Fishes of Sulawesi’s Malili Lakes

  • Suzanne M. GrayEmail author
  • Jeffrey S. McKinnon
Brief Communication


The telmatherinid fishes of the Malili Lakes, Sulawesi, Indonesia provide a new and promising system for studying the processes maintaining diversity in nature, and especially for testing the generality of the influential findings emerging from studies of other fish systems. Here we develop the telmatherinid system by providing the first detailed descriptions of mating behaviour for seven species representing both of the major Malili lakes and all three genera. The mating behaviour of all seven species can be generalized, suggesting that particular behaviours are conserved within the group. For example, male–male competition in the form of lateral fin displays and physical fighting is evident in all seven species. Males also perform a circling behaviour alongside females that they are paired with, although the size of the circle varies across species. In some species egg cannibalism and/or sneaking behaviour are also prevalent. Interspecific comparisons of mating behaviour show that habitat may play an important role in driving behavioural differences between species. Parallel intraspecific variation in use of habitat and mating behaviours is also noted for two species. This study will facilitate future behavioural and evolutionary ecology research with this system.


Telmatherinidae Sulawesi endemic freshwater fish mating system 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioural Ecology Research Group, Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Wisconsin-WhitewaterWhitewaterUSA

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