The Most Enthusiastic Dads
May 1, 2016 9:43 AM   Subscribe

These male pufferfish want to be everybody’s baby daddy.

The referenced research paper has two lovely sets of photos showing the nests, mating behaviour, and paternal egg care:
The male dug valleys at various angles in a radial direction,
constructing a nest surrounded by radially aligned peaks and valleys, which appeared to play an important role in the female mate choice, although definite factors affecting this choice remain unknown.
Torquigener albomaculosus males maintained the outer structure of the nest and irregular patterns in the nest, comprising fine sand particles, before mating. When a male found a female approaching his nest, he stirred up the fine sand particles in the nest with his fins. When a female came into the nest, the male moved to the outer edge of the nest and repeated a rush and retreat directed at the female. If the female decided to spawn, she slowly went down to the seafloor in the nest, and the male then approached the female. The female and male vibrated their bodies and released gametes on the bottom of the nest within approximately 1 s.
After mating, T. albomaculosus females left the nest site, whereas males stayed there to care for the eggs. Males flapped their fins, and they often sucked the sand into their mouths and spat it out on the bottom of the nest. Thus, males cared for the eggs by stirring the sand and accompanying attached eggs. Males also cared for the eggs by removing debris that washed into the nest and by driving away fishes that passed close to the nest.

Previously: Crop circles in the sand (with video)
posted by cynical pinnacle (3 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
We happened on several Torquigener (albeit flavi-, not albo-maculosus) while snorkelling in Karpathos, Greece - pictures, including actual puffering, here (scroll down a little).

It was a very unusual encounter - as their defense mechanism involves bloating and spikes, they're a rare kind of fish that doesn't swim away - so you really do meet them up close. (Yes, we were aware the poor thing was likely terrified, so once we had the pictures, we let it be, to relax and trundle off.) We found out later, once we'd met a couple more of them on the south-eastern coast of Rhodes, that they had never been sighted so far north in the Aegean - so it was doubly memorable.

Though I wasn't aware of the ring-building thing at the time (and I don't know whether all torquigener exhibit the same behaviour), in retrospect it hit me that three otherwise unidentified, wide circles in the sand, quite close to each other, that I saw out in one bay, may just have been those structures they build. (I'm kind of still planning to go back there, just to check.)

Also: Puff daddies!
posted by progosk at 11:22 AM on May 1, 2016 [13 favorites]

Also: Puff daddies!


Shut it down, Metafilter, there can never be a more perfect comment.
posted by chrominance at 12:26 PM on May 1, 2016 [7 favorites]

Are pufferfish cannibalistic, by any chance?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:34 PM on May 1, 2016

« Older The Increasing Problem With the Misinformed   |   How are you, Sir? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments