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Brazilian Journal of Biology

Print version ISSN 1519-6984On-line version ISSN 1678-4375


CHELLAPPA, S. et al. Reproductive ecology of a neotropical cichlid fish, Cichla monoculus (Osteichthyes: Cichlidae). Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2003, vol.63, n.1, pp.17-26. ISSN 1519-6984.

The reproductive ecology of the freshwater fish Cichla monoculus Spix, 1831 (Osteichthyes: Cichlidae) was investigated in the Campo Grande Reservoir, Northeast Brazil. Rainfall, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and electrical conductivity of the water were recorded monthly. Fish collected on a monthly basis were measured, weighed, dissected, sexed and the stage of maturation of the gonads were assessed by macro and microscopic means. The semi-arid study region has short spells of rain of 2-3 months duration interspersed with dry seasons. A positive correlation was observed between rainfall and air and water temperatures and conductivity of the water. The study population had an extended spawning season, with peak reproductive activity coinciding with low water temperatures. Males were longer and heavier than females on average and were larger at onset of sexual maturity. The size frequency distributions of the oocytes indicate that C. monoculus is a multiple spawner with an estimated batch fecundity of 3100. Condition factor showed an inverse relationship in relation to gonad size during maturation in both sexes and spent fish were in poor condition. In mature males, lipid stores in the post-occipital cephalic protuberance, a secondary sexual characteristic developed during the reproductive phase, which depleted in spent individuals. The success of this fish is attributed to its reproductive capacity and to the phenotypic plasticity that allows it to adapt to the harsh ecological conditions that prevail in the semi-arid region of Northeast Brazil.

Keywords : Cichla monoculus; ecology; cichlids; reproduction.

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