Reproductive Biology

Probably reaches sexual maturity during the first year, at 1.6-2 in (4-5 cm). Males become very dark during the reproductive period, which usually occurs between May and June. The male is territorial and guards a nesting cavity under a stone, attracting females with a courtship display and making noises as he does. The male carries small stones out from the nest in his mouth and deposits them near the female, and then quickly returns to the nest. He repeats this behavior until the female enters the nest, and then swims several times upside down over the roof of the nest. The female attaches herself to the roof of the nest using the pelvic disk and spawns 100-200 eggs, which are stuck to the roof. Several females can spawn in the same nest, which may hold over 1,500 eggs at various stages of development. The male cares for the eggs until they hatch, after about 17 days.

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