Behavioural differences between breeding and nonbreeding pairs of protandry monogamous false clown anemonefish Amphiprion ocellaris
Anemonefishes are some of the most popular marine ornamental fishes. Due to the adverse impacts of commercial fishing on the wild populations of anemonefishes, a more suitable and efficient captive breeding programme must be promoted. In the wild, anemonefishes are protandrous sex-changing fish, but when two immature individuals with ambisexual gonads are raised together in captivity, the two differentiate directly into a male and a female, to form a breeding pair. However, not all the formed pairs spawn, explaining the great care required in captive breeding. This behaviour appears to be counter-adaptative, as anemonefish social groups form randomly in the wild, and such phenomenon would disturb their breeding success. This study evaluated the behavioural and physiological differences between breeding and nonbreeding pairs of false clown anemonefish Amphiprion ocellaris under captive conditions. Behavioural observations revealed that nonbreeding females monopolized the shelter provided, whereas breeding females allowed breeding males to use the shelter and the pair frequently stayed together in the shelter. Both nonbreeding and breeding females possessed mature ovarian tissue and similar level of plasma estradiol concentrations, but nonbreeding males had a smaller amount of testicular tissue and lower plasma 11-ketotestosterone levels compared to breeding males.
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