Reef fish study reveals migratory mateship
2 October 2015
Rabbitfish on the Great Barrier Reef, picture by J.Donelson
New UTS research confirms that, when it comes to rabbitfish couples, appearances can be deceptive, raising fundamental questions about pairing, reproduction and social systems.
The study investigated the nature of the mating system of a pairing species of tropical marine fish (the pencil-streaked rabbitfish Siganus doliatus) – showing for the first time that adult pairs may not necessarily be mates after all. The results raise tantalising questions about the sex lives of this coral-dwelling reef fish.
"Rabbitfish are a very interesting group of fishes and are also an important part of the fisheries catch in many countries of the tropical and sub-tropical Indo-Pacific. About 50 per cent of rabbitfish species live in socially monogamous pairs, while the other half form loosely associated schools," explains UTS marine ecologist, and lead author of the research, Dr Rebecca Fox.
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