Parental Care In Fishes


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Parental care behaviour is universal among fishes. Fish shows all breaths of greats of parental care behavior from random spawning and from deposition of large numbers of uncare to the protection of young. Two general types of variation in parental care behavior exist among fishes. First either both parents or one alone cares for the offspring. Fishes show various types of parental care behavior which are discussed below_

  1. Scattering eggs over aquatic plants: 

In some fishes such as Pires Cyprinus carpio etc.eggs are scattered usually over aquatic plants to which they are attached.

2. Deposition Eggs in Sticky Covering: 

 In many carps eggs are usually layed with some special sticky covering by means of which they are attached to each other and to the other weed etc.

  1. Laying of Eggs at suitable places: 

 Suitable spawning grounds are selected by anadromous fishes such Salmo solar, Acipenser, etc. They dig excavation in gravel and desert them 

4. Nest building:

Only a few fishes nest which maybe complex like that of birds or simple. Simple nests of fishes are merely hollowed out depression in the bottom as in the lung fishes. Males of many species such as darters, Sunfishes, prepare a shallow basin like best. All stones and rock crystal are carefully remove from the bottom. The eggs are laid in the nest and the male remains on guard till the young ones are hatched.

                  The male African lung fish, Protopterus, prepare a simple best in the form of deep hole in swampy places along the river bank. After spawning he guard the nest. 

             Floating nests are made by American cat fishes, in which the eggs are suspended in a mass of bubbles and mucus produced by the fish. The male Siamese fighting fish too builds a floating nest and sticks the fertilized eggs to the lower surface of foamy nest.

5. Coily Round the Eggs:

The butter fish rolls all eggs into a ball and guards around it.

6. Deposition of eggs by Ovipositor in Mussels:

The female Rhodous amarus deposits eggs in the siphon of a fresh water mussel by means of very long urogenital papilla.

7. Egg Brooding in Mouth and Intestine:

The female Tilapin mossambica broods the fertilized eggs in her mouth. She allows the young to take refuge in her buckle cavity in times of danger for some days after hatching. The egg of this oral incubating fish are large and relatively few in number. During this period the brooder fish don't take any food, thus exhibition great degree of self-sacrifice.

8. Brood pouches:

The male sea horse and pipe fish carry eggs in a brood pouch on the abdomen. In sea horse fertilised eggs are transfer by the female into the brood pouch on the bally of the male. These eggs are carried by males until their hatching. Egg become embedded in the folds of the brood pouch and for the exchange of respiratory gases a sort of placenta is formed.

        In the male pipe fish a brood pouch is formed by two flaps of skin on the underside of the body on which eggs are placed by the female. The brood pouch develops an inner spongy lining which is richly supplied with blood vessels. The eggs get nourishment until hatching. Fry may return to the pouch when in danger.

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