Visual communication stimulates reproduction in Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (L.)
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Reproductive fish behavior is affected by male-female interactions that stimulate physiological responses such as hormonal release and gonad development. During male-female interactions, visual and chemical communication can modulate fish reproduction. The aim of the present study was to test the effect of visual and chemical male-female interaction on the gonad development and reproductive behavior of the cichlid fish Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (L.). Fifty-six pairs were studied after
... being maintained for 5 days under one of the four conditions (N = 14 for each condition): 1) visual contact (V); 2) chemical contact (Ch); 3) chemical and visual contact (Ch+V); 4) no sensory contact (Iso) -males and females isolated. We compared the reproductive behavior (nesting, courtship and spawning) and gonadosomatic index (GSI) of pairs of fish under all four conditions. Visual communication enhanced the frequency of courtship in males (mean ± SEM; V: 24.79 ± 3.30, Ch+V: 20.74 ± 3.09, Ch: 0.1 ± 0.07, Iso: 4.68 ± 1.26 events/30 min; P < 0.05, two-way ANOVA with LSD post hoc test), induced spawning in females (3 spawning in V and also 3 in Ch+V condition), and increased GSI in males (mean ± SEM; V: 1.39 ± 0.08, Ch+V: 1.21 ± 0.08, Ch: 1.04 ± 0.07, Iso: 0.82 ± 0.07%; P < 0.05, two-way ANOVA with LSD post hoc test). Chemical communication did not affect the reproductive behavior of pairs nor did it enhance the effects of visual contact. Therefore, male-female visual communication is an effective cue, which stimulates reproduction among pairs of Nile tilapia.