>This is a fascinating paper, and should give clues to aquarists on how to
>spawn this enigmatic fish. I will do a full report (with photos, I hope) in
>the spring American Currents.
>Quick, quick summary: Pirate perch spawn head first in the submerged root
>masses of trees. (Note: despite the authors' claims, this paper is not the
>first to document root mat spawning among pirate perch. The 2003 paper by
>Poly & Wetzel -- summarized in the Summer 2003 AC -- documented it as well.)
>Several of interesting things emerge from this:
>1) The importance of riparian trees to healthy pirate perch populations.
>2) How healthy pirate perch populations may be tied to healthy salamander
>and dobsonfly larvae populations, and vice-versa. (The salamanders and
>larvae are adept at boring small holes in the root masses, which the pirate
>perch wedge themselves in to spawn. The salamanders and larvae occasionally
>get a nice meal of pirate perch eggs for their efforts.)
This discription defines the exact environment I found some Pirate Perch
a couple of weekends ago.
The location would be best discribed as a trickle no more than 3-4' wide
( I could junp over it).
Rocky bottomed but the riparian zone was typical wetlands stuff, grasses
and small willows. Ludwigia
floating on the surface of the water and extending well onto land. Lots
of roots and stems in and out of the water.
The bank in some locations was quite sheer. I ran the dip net under
neath the floating Ludwigia and shook
the mass of roots and stems for about 10-15 seconds thus allowing all
the critters to dislodge and disentangle
themselves. This is where I found the Pirate Perch, Western Lesser
Siren and Oottles and ootles of dobsonfly,
damselfly and dragonfly larvae. From the authors account and vid it
could easily have been this location where
they could have been observing.
BTW - How can you tell a male and female Pirate Perch apart?
>3) How spawning seems to be a communal affair, with up to 30 males
>converging upon a root mass at once, with many parents contributing to the
>offspring in a single nest. Maybe the trick to getting them to spawn in
>captivity is to have a bigger tank with lots of males.
>4) Another hypothesis explaining the bizarre jugular location of the pirate
>perch urogenital opening: depositing eggs and sperm deeper into holes bored
>through the root mass. The authors also mention the possibility that pirate
>perch may be spitting their eggs into the root mass, which complements the
>Poly & Wetzel hypothesis that pirate perch are "transbranchioral spawners"
>in which eggs and sperm are drawn back through the gills and into the mouth,
>and then spat into the spawning substrate. Too bad the authors of this most
>recent paper were not aware of the latter one.
>Fascinating stuff about a fascinating fish.
>>From: "Bruce Stallsmith" <fundulus_at_hotmail.com>
>>Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2004 17:47:14 -0500
>>Subject: NANFA-- Pirate Perch article & videos
>>The newest issue of the journal Copeia has an article that would be of
>>interest to many readers of this list. A group of researchers from the
>>Savannah River Ecology Lab and the Univ. of Georgia videotaped pirate perch
>>breeding behavior in the wild and also examined the DNA of offspring and
>>adults to determine patterns of parentage. Videos in QuickTime format, and
>>color photographs, can be accessed at http://www.genetics.uga.edu/Asayanus/
>>The article is by Dean Fletcher, Eliizabeth Dakin, Brady Porter and John
>>Avise, entitled "Spawning Behavior and Genetic Parentage in the Pirate Perch
>>(Aphredoderus sayanus), a Fish With an Enigmatic Reproductive Morphology,"
>>pp. 1-10, 2004, of the journal Copeia.
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/ nanfa_at_aquaria.net. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
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/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page, http://www.nanfa.org