Apex predators target mutton snapper spawning aggregation

Coral Reefs (Impact Factor: 3.32). 06/2012; 31(4). DOI: 10.1007/s00338-012-0921-0
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Available from: Rachel T. Graham, Aug 05, 2014
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    • "These aggregations of large fishes releasing their gametes create a milty soup in the water that is so thick that visual cues are of no use. Large predators use this to their advantage to prey on the spawning fish (Graham and Castellanos, 2012; Fig. 9 D, E). For detailed description of the spawning aggregations of the grouper Epinephelus striatus see Colin (1992) and Whayland et al. (2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: It is necessary for essential fish habitat to include the actual spawning area chosen by fishes for mating. These locations are sometimes long-term territories while other fishes choose transient sites used only when mating. The modes of reproduction among fishes range from having defined nests of benthic embryos to the random release of gametes in the water column where the embryos float and disperse in ocean currents. The spectacular annual mass spawning behavior of snappers and groupers is hypothesized to occur at locations where the underwater topography creates special flow conditions resulting in the favorable advection of embryos. The sites where fishes spawn are critical to their life history and must be included when considering the designation of marine protected areas. The key method in defining the locations of spawning sites is the direct observation by scientists of where, when and how different fishes engage in the reproduction ritual. This requires skilled scientific diving (preferably with rebreathers) and documentation by stealthy photography/videography. The first scientific challenge is knowing where and when to dive. The second challenge is to gather sufficient data, especially video, to define a species' reproductive behavior. This paper is a review of where, when and how a variety of coral reef fishes spawn.