Parental care and demography of a spawning population of the channichthyid Neopagetopsis ionah, Nybelin 1947 from the Weddell Sea


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Claudio.Richter [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Parental care is a rather common reproductive strategy in fishes, particularly in species with low fecundity and large eggs as the Antarctic icefish (Channichthyidae). The infrequent use of underwater devices to record fish behaviour and the logistic limitations of operating in the Antarctic marine environment have prevented, so far, the collection of data about rare species. Integrating results from benthic trawling and underwater photographic images, we provide the first demographic and reproductive behavioural data for the channichthyid Neopagetopsis ionah, describing the nesting and parental care behaviour of a spawning population in the south-eastern Weddell Sea. The population sampled by the Agassiz trawl was dominated by females, and consisted of several post-spawning as well as a few mature females spread over a narrow size range. Based on otolith reading, the population included two cohorts estimated as four- and five-year-old fish. Following common trade-off between fecundity and egg size, females of N. ionah spawned few large eggs (733–1810 eggs/female, 4.9–6.5 mm in diameter). The nesting site was characterized by fine sediments with sparse gravel and the accompanying benthic invertebrate community showed low densities and was relatively poor. A total of 93 nests were counted along the video transect, most of them with a single guarding male or left unattended. Fish remains or whole dead specimens were frequently observed in the proximity of the nest. This observation represents the first record of post-spawning mortality associated with parental care which has never been documented before in Antarctic fishes.



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Article
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Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
54467
DOI 10.1007/s00300-021-02913-5

Cite as
Riginella, E. , Pineda-Metz, S. E. A. , Gerdes, D. , Koschnick, N. , Böhmer, A. , Biebow, H. , Papetti, C. , Mazzoldi, C. and La Mesa, M. (2021): Parental care and demography of a spawning population of the channichthyid Neopagetopsis ionah, Nybelin 1947 from the Weddell Sea , Polar Biology, 44 (8), pp. 1725-1735 . doi: 10.1007/s00300-021-02913-5


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