Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 85–89 | Cite as

Ecological modulation of reproductive behaviour in the peacock blenny: a mini-review

  • J. L. SaraivaEmail author
  • D. Gonçalves
  • R. F. Oliveira


The inter-populational variation in the reproductive behaviour of the peacock blenny Salaria pavo (Risso 1810), particularly the influence of the ecologic environment, was reviewed in the present work. Two populations of this species inhabiting contrasting environments were studied: the Ria Formosa population, a coastal lagoon with sandy/muddy substrate located in the south of Portugal, and the Gulf of Trieste, an area presenting rocky substrate located in the northern Adriatic sea. The remarkable differences in the mating system and reproductive behaviour between the two populations (namely sex-role reversal and high frequency of alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) at the Ria Formosa vs typical sex roles and low frequency of ARTs at the Gulf of Trieste) are interpreted as a plastic behavioural and physiological response to contrasting ecological conditions. Androgens, namely 11-ketotestosterone, seem to act as mediators of this response. The expression and activity of the enzyme aromatase in the brain also seems to play a key role in fine-tuning the behavioural output in all male morphs as well as females.


Blenny Behaviour Plasticity Androgens 



JLS was funded by a Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia grant SFRH/BPD/67008/2009.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. L. Saraiva
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • D. Gonçalves
    • 2
  • R. F. Oliveira
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Ciências do MarUniversidade do Algarve, Campus de GambelasFaroPortugal
  2. 2.ISPAInstituto UniversitárioLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Champalimaud Neuroscience ProgrammeInstituto Gulbenkian de CiênciaOeirasPortugal

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