Reproductive biology

Reproductive behavior and ecology have been described for a number of species, mainly from aquarium studies, and, as expected, there is species-specific variation around a common theme. Courtship is paired and initiated by the male within his territory. Generally, the male nudges the female's abodomen; if the female responds positively, he moves parallel to her flank and undulates or quivers. After some time, the female will undulate her body and lay demersal eggs singly until a small clutch is produced. (Demersal eggs are those that are deposited upon the substrate, such as the sea floor.) Eggs may be laid on stones, algae, or other substrates. Depending upon the species, egg laying may last from several minutes to a few hours. The male fertilizes the eggs during this process, and, upon completion, the clutch either is guarded by the male or is abandoned by the pair. There is some evidence of mating by internal fertilization, with female parental care, in the weedsucker (Eckloniaichthys scylliorhiniceps). This species is a monotypic clingfish endemic to South Africa that may share this trait with a few other species. Spawning or mating may be seasonal, during warmer months, at higher latitudes. At tropical or subtropical latitudes, spawning or mating may take place year-round or seasonally if water temperatures become either too warm or too cold. Larvae of all species are probably planktonic.

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