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Interspecific nesting in marine fishes: Spawning of the spinynose sculpin, Asemichthys taylori, on the eggs of the buffalo sculpin, Enophrys bison

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Abstract

Subtidal spawning of the cottid fish Enophrys bison occurs in southern British Columbia, where in the field a smaller subtidal cottid, Asemichthys taylori, exclusively utilizes E. bison nests by overlaying its own eggs on top of the E. bison eggs. In the laboratory, spawning of A. taylori in the absence of E. bison nests was observed to occur adjacent to eggs of another sculpin, Icelinus borealis, but no spawning of A. taylori was observed in the field in association with nests of any fish other than E. bison. The E. bison male guards the composite cluster of egg masses, and the A. taylori eggs hatch faster than the earlier laid E. bison eggs. Enophrys bison embryonic development appears retarded by overlying A. taylori eggs so the spawning by A. taylori on E. bison egg masses is a form of nesting parasitism, a behavior previously unknown among marine fishes. This study is the first report of interspecific nesting for marine fishes.

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... IBP has been studied in both freshwater and marine substrate spawners, including many species of Cyprinid minnows that spawn in the nests of other species (Baba, Nagata, & Yamagishi, 1989;Johnston, 1994) as well as one marine species, the spinynose sculpin, Aemichthys, which spawns in buffalo sculpin Enophrys nests (Kent, Fisher, & Marliave, 2011). In contrast, CBP in fishes has rarely been documented. ...
... However, predation was also thought to be a key factor in the one previous example of mixed interspecific clutches in a marine fish (Kent et al., 2011). ...
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... Many sculpins deposit large (1-2 mm in diameter) and sticky demersal eggs in shallow coastal areas in winter (e.g., DeMartini, 1978;Kent et al., 2011;Panchenko, 2001;Takeshita et al., 1997) and ...
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... A population of rock sole Lepidopsetta bilineata in Puget Sound, Fish reproduction at air-water interface Washington, spawns eggs intertidally that are exposed to air during low tide, whereas other members of the same species breed subtidally (Penttila 1995). Enophrys bison was reported to spawn intertidally in Puget Sound by DeMartini (1978), but subtidally in the Vancouver region, approximately 150 km north (Kent et al. 2011). These differences suggest spawning behavior is plastic and may change readily within populations without concomitant genetic divergence. ...
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... Obligate IBP has provided some of the most important theories on behavioural ecology and evolution, especially with birds as study species (Rothstein 1990; Davies 2000). Nevertheless, this behaviour is not exclusive to this taxon, as others like insects (Cervo et al. 2004; Cervo 2006) or fishes (Sato 1986; Baba et al. 1990; Kent et al. 2011) also present species that systematically lay their eggs in the nests (or mouths, in the case of some catfishes parasitising cichlids, Sato 1986) of other species to be cared for by their hosts. Indeed, several authors have highlighted the evolutionary convergence of this behaviour among different taxa (for instance, between birds and insects; Davies et al. 1989; Cervo et al. 2004; Tallamy 2005; Cervo 2006). ...
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Larvae of Asemichthys taylori were reared in the laboratory to identifiable juveniles. A preserved series of larvae was characterized in part by fin meristics (X–XI, 14–15 dorsal fin rays; 15 anal fin rays), as well as a combination of the alignment of the jaw tip with the ventral margin of the gut, heavy lateral melanistic pigment except on the caudal peduncle, and a series of postanal ventral melanophores. An internal, horizontal band of melanin extends through the head from the snout to the gut. Hypural plates do not align vertically even after settlement, giving the appearance that the larvae do not complete notochord flexion during their planktonic stage. Larval A. taylori resemble known larvae of Radulinus spp., a genus under which some authors have synonymized the monotypic genus Asemichthys. KeywordsLarvae-Sculpin-Cottidae- Asemichthys taylori
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Host-brood parasite interactions may not always be as they seem.
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