Reproductive biology

The male may defend a small territory and nest site that, frequently, is a small space under some stones. Often the male is responsible for caring for the developing eggs. The female will lay a few to several hundred small eggs, attaching them to the underside of rocks, vegetation, or onto corals. The eggs usually hatch in a few days, and the young may be dispersed by water currents. In freshwater species such as sicydiine gobies (e.g., o'opo alamo'o), the larvae are probably swept downstream by the water current; they spend a few weeks to months at sea before returning to fresh water. Frequency of spawning is very variable between different species of gobies. Some species, such as the Japanese ice goby (Leucopsarionpetersi), are typically semelparous species, spawning once in a single spawning season, before dying. Other species are iteroparous, relying on more than one spawning event during their lifespan to achieve a satisfactory reproductive output. This "repeat-spawning" behavior is often seen in small species that face reasonably high predation and a short lifespan. The common goby (Pomatoschistus microps), which grows up to 3.5 in (9 cm) total length and can convert 40% of its food into go-nad energy, may spawn up to six times over a three-month period, or as many as nine times during its 18-month life cycle. In contrast, the burrowing species Fries' goby (Lesuerigo-bius friesii) reaches only 1.6 in (4 cm) longer than P. microps, but it does not mature until it is two years old, spawns just twice per season, and may live for 11 years. Egg size and number can also vary widely between species of gobies. The smallest eggs are 0.01 in (0.26 mm) in diameter, produced by the empire gudgeon (Hypseleotris compressa) from Australia and New Guinea; the largest are 0.1 in (2.4 mm) in diameter produced by the knout goby (Mesogobius batrachocephalus) from the Black and Caspian Seas. Some small gobies that live in or around corals and sponges may change sex, which ensures that there are always enough individuals of both sexes to ensure reproduction and survival of the population.

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