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Reproductive Behaviour of the Rainbow Cichlid, Herotilapia Multispinosa (Pisces, Cichlidae)

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Specific patterns and colour changes were associated with the non-reproductive, pre-spawning, spawning, and parental phases of the reproductive cycle of Herotilapia multispinosa. The motor patterns involved with reproductive behaviour were characteristic of those patterns previously described for cichlids. The duration of spawning, number of eggs/spawning, and time required for eggs to hatch also conformed to previous works on substrate spawning cichlids. Spawning was not randomly distributed throughout the day but showed a peak of activity during the sixth hour of light. Constant light disrupted and inhibited spawning activities. H. multispinosa exhibit a division of labour between the male and female, the female caring for the young more than the male. Finally, H. multispinosa produce four sounds during the reproductive cycle. Two sounds, the "volley" and "thump", were associated with agonistic behaviour while one sound, the "growl" was associated with the synchronization of the breeding pair with respect to spawning. The last sound, the "whoof", could not be linked to a particular behavioural state since it was produced too infrequently. All four sounds showed physical properties that would indicate that they were produced by a swimbladder mechanism. No periodicity of sound production was observed.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S.A.

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