Reproductive Biology

Matures at about 16-18 in (40-45 cm) in standard length, somewhere between 4-8 years of age. A protogynous hermaphrodite, but primary males have also been found. Spawns pelagi-cally in large aggregations that form at specific locations annually depending upon lunar phase and water temperature. Courtship occurs within the aggregation just prior to or after sunset with spawning soon after sunset. The two color phases are used at this time to indicate submissive roles that reduce aggregation and promote courtship behavior. Females assume a dark color phase during courtship and lead spawning events. Events occur usually in subgroups of 3-25 fish, with a spawning ascent well into the water column. Eggs and larvae are pelagic.

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