Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 71–76 | Cite as

Flyingfish Spawning (Parexocoetus brachypterus) in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico

  • Philip W. Stevens
  • Clifford K. Bennett
  • James J. Berg
Article

Abstract

A spawning aggregation of Parexocoetus brachypterus was observed in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico over the outer continental shelf, 100 km south of Mobile, Alabama. The event was considered to be a spawning aggregation given the remarkably high abundance of flyingfish observed, together with unusually vigorous flying, jumping, and swimming activity near the surface, and observations of both males and females exuding ripe sex products when landed. The spawn occurred during May 2001 just after moonrise 2 days post full moon. More than 1 000 000 flyingfish were estimated to have participated in the spawn. Male flyingfish were three times more abundant than females, consistent with observations of 3–4 flyingfish grouped together before and after the spawning aggregation, if several males were simultaneously pursuing a single female. Although egg attachment to flotsam is the only reproductive mode previously described for flyingfishes with demersal eggs, the P. brachypterus spawn occurred in the absence of flotsam. Other possible egg development modes include egg suspension upon current, mid-water suspension above pycnocline or upon topographically induced turbulence, or benthic.

flotsam Exoceotidae deep reefs pycnocline demersal eggs 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Andrianov, D.P. & D. Lakshminaraina. 1994. Data on the reproduction of three species of flying fish (Exocoetidae) in the coastal waters of southeastern India. J. Ichthyol. 34: 12-26.Google Scholar
  2. Breder, C.M. & D.E. Rosen. 1966. Modes of Reproduction in Fishes. The Natural History Press, Garden City, New York. 941 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Clarke, J. 1997. Atlantic Pilot Atlas. International Marine, Camben, Maine. 75 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Evans, J.W. 1961. Normal stages of the early development of the flying fish, Hirundichthys affinis (Günther). Bull. Mar. Sci. Gulf Caribbean 11: 483-502.Google Scholar
  5. Gudger, E.W. 1937. Sargasso weed fish 'nests' made by flying fishes not by Sargasso fishes (Antennariids): A historical survey. Amer. Nat. 71: 363-381.Google Scholar
  6. Hunte, W., H.A. Oxenford & R. Mahon. 1995. Distribution and relative abundance of flyingfish (Exocoetidae) in the eastern Caribbean. II. Spawning substrata, eggs and larvae. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 117: 25-37.Google Scholar
  7. Johannes, R.E. 1978. Reproductive strategies of coastal marine fishes in the tropics. Environ. Biol. Fish. 3: 65-84.Google Scholar
  8. Khokiattiwong, S., R. Mahon & W. Hunte. 2000. Seasonal abundance and reproduction of the fourwing flyingfish, Hirundichthys affinis, off Barbados. Environ. Biol. Fish. 59: 43-60.Google Scholar
  9. Kovalevskaya, N.V. 1982. Superfluous reproduction and development of flying fishes of the family Exocoetidae. J. Ichthyol. 22: 48-50.Google Scholar
  10. Lewis, J.B. 1961. The growth, breeding cycle and food of the flyingfish Parexoceotus brachypterus hillianus (Goose). Bull. Mar. Sci. Gulf Caribbean 11: 258-266.Google Scholar
  11. Lewis, J.B., J.K. Brundritt & A.G. Fish. 1962. The biology of the flyingfish Hirundichthys affinis (Günther). Bull. Mar. Sci. Gulf Caribbean 12: 73-94.Google Scholar
  12. Ludwig, J.C., & W.R. Walton. 1957. Shelf-edge calcarious prominences in northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. 41: 2054-2101.Google Scholar
  13. Lueck, R.G., & T.D. Mudge. 1997. Topographically induced mixing around a shallow seamount. Science 276: 1831-1833.Google Scholar
  14. Moum, J.N., & J.D. Nash. 2000. Topographically induced drag and mixing at a small bank on the continental shelf. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 30: 2049-2054.Google Scholar
  15. Oxenford, H.A., W. Hunte, R. Deane & S.E. Campana. 1994. Otolith age validation and growth-rate variation in flyingfish (Hirundichthys affinis) from the eastern Caribbean. Mar. Biol. 118: 585-592.Google Scholar
  16. Oxenford, H.A., R. Mahon & W. Hunte. 1995. Distribution and relative abundance of flyingfish (Exocoetidae) in the eastern Caribbean. III. Juveniles. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 117: 39-47.Google Scholar
  17. Parin, N.V. & D. Lakshminaraina. 1993. Flying fishes (Exocoetidae) in the coastal waters of southeastern India. J. Ichthyol. 33: 12-24.Google Scholar
  18. Sturges, W. 1993. The annual cycle of the western boundary current in the Gulf of Mexico. J. Geophys. Res. 98: 18053-18068.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip W. Stevens
    • 1
    • 2
  • Clifford K. Bennett
    • 1
  • James J. Berg
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyFlorida Integrated Science CenterGainesvilleU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Engineering SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleU.S.A.
  3. 3.Department of Fisheries and Aquatic SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleU.S.A

Personalised recommendations