Scientia Marina, Vol 62, No 3 (1998)

Growth and reproduction of Xyrichthys novacula (Pisces: Labridae) in the Mediterranean Sea


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.1998.62n3193

M. Cardinale
Department of Animal and Human Biology, University “La Sapienza”, Italy

F. Colloca
Department of Animal and Human Biology, University “La Sapienza”, Italy

G. D. Ardizzone
Department of Animal and Human Biology, University “La Sapienza”, Italy

Abstract


Mediterranean razorfish, Xyrichthys novacula, were collected between July and December in a sandy bay of Ponza Island (Central Mediterranean Sea) to investigate the effects of reproduction and growth patterns on sexual inversion processes and haremic territoriality. The minimum body size of males decreased from 17 cm in July to 15 cm (T.L.) in October as a consequence of the sexual inversion after reproduction. Females showed a reproductive peak in August using both the Holden and Rait scale and the gonodosomatic index. The gonads of males were small, on average only 0.14% of total body weight. The proportion of body weight devoted to gonads did not change with male size. This is probably a consequence of the haremic mating system of the species which reduces sperm competition between males. A new coloration phase for females was introduced in addition to the three already described in the literature. Individuals of each age class are characterised by different coloration patterns. This chromatic feature of the species allows dominant males to recognize the age of females and consequently to choose during harem formation the older and larger specimens able to produce a larger number of offspring.

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