Spawning aggregations in coral-reef fishes have been hypothesized to confer any one of several mutually non-exclusive benefits, largely expected to serve the interests of both sexes simultaneously. Here we provide indication that in the brown surgeonfish, Acanthurus nigrofuscus, spawning aggregations may confer a sex-specific benefit. Following tagged individuals en-route to their daily spawning-aggregation site we found that while migrating groups (≤ 20 fish) consist of both males and females, females tend to occupy the lead position more often than expected by chance. In addition, we found evidence that female A. nigrofuscus divide their daily egg-stock among several spawning bouts within the aggregations. We propose that female leadership en-route to spawning aggregations, together with the potential benefits of multiple female mating, are consistent with a sex-specific benefit to spawning aggregations.
- Acanthurus nigrofuscus
- Spawning aggregation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science