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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Otolith morphology varies between populations, sexes and male alternative reproductive tactics in a vocal toadfish Porichthys notatus

Bose, Aneesh; Adragna, J. B.; Balshine, S.


In this study, the morphology of sagittal otoliths of the plainfin midshipman fish Porichthys notatus was compared between populations, sexes and male alternative reproductive phenotypes (known as ‘type I males or guarders’ and ‘type II males or sneakers’). Sagitta size increased with P. notatus size and changes in shape were also detected with increasing body size. Porichthys notatus sagittae begin as simple rounded structures, but then elongate as they grow and take on a more triangular and complex shape with several prominent notches and indentations along the dorsal and caudal edges. Moreover, the sagittae of the two geographically and genetically distinct populations of P. notatus (northern and southern) differed in shape. Porichthys notatus from the north possessed taller sagittae with deeper caudal indentations compared to P. notatus from the south. Sagitta shape also differed between females and males of the conventional guarder tactic. Furthermore, guarder males had smaller sagittae for their body size than did sneaker males or females. These differences in sagittal otolith morphology are discussed in relation to ecological and life history differences between the sexes and male tactics of this species. This is the first study to investigate teleost otolith morphology from the perspective of alternative reproductive tactics.

Published in

Journal of Fish Biology
2016, volume: 90, number: 1, pages: 311-325

Authors' information

McMaster University
Adragna, J. B.
McMaster University
Balshine, S.
McMaster University

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Aquacultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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