Growth and reproduction in Canthigaster valentini (Pisces, Tetraodontidae): a comparison of a toxic reef fish with other reef fishes

William Gladstone*, Mark Westoby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The growth and reproduction of Cantigaster valentini were studied in two sites at Lizard Island, Australia. C. valentini was found to be a gonochore, with a sex ratio very close to 1:1; sexes could be distinguished externally. The growth (in length) of known individuals from both sites was measured at least every two months over two years. Growth rates of males and females decrease as their sizes increase. Growth rates differ between sexes and between sites: males generally grow faster than females and individuals at Mermaid Cove generally grow faster than individuals at Palfrey Island. Spawning is demersal, it occurs daily between 0800 and 1600h, and continues year-round. For females the interval between successive spawnings varies from about 4 days in the warm-water season to about 10 days in the cool-water season. From a comparison of local reproductive output and local recruitment survivorship of larvae in the plankton was estimated to be much higher than in another species (Pomacentrus wardi) for which a similar estimate was available. We suggest that some aspects of the reproductive strategy of C. valentini differ from other, non-toxic reef fishes in ways consistent with a reduced threat of predation upon adults, eggs, and larvae: courtship and spawning are unhurried and occur throughout most of the day; spawning is unrelated to lunar cycles; there is no parental care or defense of fertilized eggs; and embryos often hatch on rising tides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-221
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1988


  • coral reef fish
  • eggs
  • growth
  • larvae
  • reproductive strategies
  • spawning
  • toxin


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