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laz217

Runaway Shadow

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According to some friends, it turns out I was just a few minutes too late from watching a female striated frog fish release a large package of eggs into the water column with these two male frog fish in her wake. I suppose cross breeding occurs in frog fish considering the black one does not appear to be a striated frog fish. I watched both males play an interesting game of "luring" -- some kind of territorial match of wits. Luckily, I captured that on video. I will post it in a day or two once I've processed it.

 

In the mean time enjoy the photo I've titled, "Runaway Shadow."

 

090603-182441-0033.jpg

Edited by laz217

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Laz I have pics in for confirmation right now with those who know, but the black male in your pic is indeed a striated frogfish, the split lure is the key. I have seen a dozen or more ack striated frogfish over the years at Blue Heron. The frogfish that the black male is next to is the female that released the egg mass & the sucessful male that spawned with her ( a patterned striated) is no where to be found (isn't that typical) All 3 frogs went up to spawn but the patterned male was a little faster than the black male in your pic here. I have pic of moment female (in you pic here after spawning) released egg mass and patterned male fertilized. I then proceeded to get lost but documented with good pics of the egg mass fooTing in the current.

 

I can only suppose the black male striated I'd still hanging around the female here because he was not the successful "spawner"?

 

I will be writing up an acct of what ocurred & have it checked by Ellen Mueller, Scott Michael & Paul & Ned.

 

It was amazing!!!

 

But let's keep the facts straight, no hybrids that I know of at blue heron.

 

Best Carol

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Sorry for all the typos but my iPhone isn't letting me correct them easily.

 

Nice pic Laz and nice seeing you in person!

 

Yes this event will be written up & I am lucky to have gotten any pics of the split second spawn. If you know anyone else who observed this event that could write a factual acct of what they saw it would be helpful to have all the info we can. Fortunately I can write up an acct of what I saw as I have reported & documented fish info for NOAA & I am fairly good at observing events & fish sprlecies. But more data is always helpful.

 

Thanks Carol

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It was great to finally meet you as well, Carol. Please excuse the assumptions. I assumed the striated were just one color pattern. I have seen the mating behavior of the striated before and the male would pounce on the female as well as "dance" around her. The female during that scene was extremely gravid. I look forward to seeing your photographs and hearing about anything you learn about the whole behavior.

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Laz, great expericence and photo. Now that you've located these frogfish, is it similar to the Hamlets in that they mate every evening? And I'm wondering if the male just changed to a darker color. This is really interesting behaviour for sure.

Edited by randapex

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Laz, great expericence and photo. Now that you've located these frogfish, is it similar to the Hamlets in that they mate every evening? And I'm wondering if the male just changed to a darker color. This is really interesting behaviour for sure.

 

Interesting point and I'm glad you mentioned it as it inspired me to do a little research. The first time I saw the striated frog fish mate was last year on 8/11/08. Although I did not see the release of the "raft" of eggs, the next day the female was back to normal size so I assume (here I go again!) that it happened the evening of 8/11/08 or earlier the next day. On the day I observed her and the small male, the male was dancing around her and pounced (think of a cat) on her a couple of times.

 

Here's where it gets interesting...

 

On 8/11/08 it was 5 days to a full moon.

High slack tide that day was at 5:09 PM

Sunset was at 7:59 PM

I photographed the frog fish last 5:00 PM (they had yet to spawn)

 

On 6/3/09 when Carol saw the spawning event it was 5 days to a full moon.

High slack tide that day was at 6:01 PM

Sunset was at 8:10 PM

They had already spawn when I saw them at 6:09 PM (Carol -- could you provide the exact time?)

 

Needless to say, I will be keeping a VERY good eye on these little froggies when similar conditions happen again.

 

One thing that I'm questioning and perhaps others can chime in... I have heard other people referencing this "head stand" move that I mentioned in my earlier post. I'm wondering if this is some kind of mating display. Anyone seen any similar behavior?

 

BTW - Rand, I can't answer your mating question. I haven't observed them long enough to know for sure if this a daily thing or not, but I will make sure to keep a watchful eye for it. (Hopefully) heading over to the bridge tonight.

Edited by laz217

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Laz, thanks for the reply. I'm guessing over the next few months, you'll have some great opportunities if the 5 day thing is the key. Looking forward to the additional info.

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Interesting point and I'm glad you mentioned it as it inspired me to do a little research. The first time I saw the striated frog fish mate was last year on 8/11/08. Although I did not see the release of the "raft" of eggs, the next day the female was back to normal size so I assume (here I go again!) that it happened the evening of 8/11/08 or earlier the next day. On the day I observed her and the small male, the male was dancing around her and pounced (think of a cat) on her a couple of times.

 

Here's where it gets interesting...

 

On 8/11/08 it was 5 days to a full moon.

High slack tide that day was at 5:09 PM

Sunset was at 7:59 PM

I photographed the frog fish last 5:00 PM (they had yet to spawn)

 

On 6/3/09 when Carol saw the spawning event it was 5 days to a full moon.

High slack tide that day was at 6:01 PM

Sunset was at 8:10 PM

They had already spawn when I saw them at 6:09 PM (Carol -- could you provide the exact time?)

 

Needless to say, I will be keeping a VERY good eye on these little froggies when similar conditions happen again.

 

One thing that I'm questioning and perhaps others can chime in... I have heard other people referencing this "head stand" move that I mentioned in my earlier post. I'm wondering if this is some kind of mating display. Anyone seen any similar behavior?

 

BTW - Rand, I can't answer your mating question. I haven't observed them long enough to know for sure if this a daily thing or not, but I will make sure to keep a watchful eye for it. (Hopefully) heading over to the bridge tonight.

 

Laz,

 

Here is the data you requested:

 

Up to 6pm: I was swimming around looking for a small striated patterned male I had seen walking a long distance across barren sand for a couple of days in a row (slightly unusual) the day before (this turned out to be the successful male spawner).

 

6:02:52 pm I saw a female striated frogfish motoring towards me (I had seen her perched & fishing, gravid with eggs, the day before - with no males around her); female frogfish was scooting across the substrate at a mad rate with two males pushing on her from the rear. I was surprised because I thought this happened at night?

 

6:03:44 pm After photographing the quick rise into the water column, I photographed the release of the egg raft and successful male fertilizing. Seconds later the successful male had summersaulted through the egg raft and was on the bottom; it was all over. Then I pursued & photoed the egg raft in the current (that hadn't gone slack yet at all) until the raft rose to the surface near the bridge and went under it. I then got lost. Thanks to Laz for letting me know where two of them ended up, the unsuccessful male and the recently spawned female.

 

Photos of this event and an expanded description will be forthcoming in a publication.

 

Also Anna DeLoach added that they saw "courting" striated frogfish in Lembeh at 60 ft, but when they went back for the dusk dive the frogfish were nowhere to be found? From what I have observed striated frogfish are extremely mobile and use the current flow a lot also. Plus it is possible the male doesn't spend that long hanging around the female - like the longlures do (per Ellen Muller's wonderful accounts) - but this is just a supposition, based on what I have observed. It also might be related to the habitat at Blue Heron and the spawning behavior there might be modified by the conditions there, perhaps more than even the basic species' habits?

 

 

Laz, great expericence and photo. Now that you've located these frogfish, is it similar to the Hamlets in that they mate every evening? And I'm wondering if the male just changed to a darker color. This is really interesting behaviour for sure.

 

Hi Rand!

 

You will surely be interested when the article I contribute to gets published and a frogfish expert gives his opinions! I will let you know! Till then, without the expert, it is observation and theory.

 

The darker male, we had been seeing him for over a week prior to his spawning attempt. Of course we didn't know he was a male, but it was curious as he was walking, everyday, to about the same location. He was always dark, jet black actually. But I've photoed jet black striateds before at Blue Heron and Bali also. Still striateds can change color so that is a good ? Rand.

 

Frogfish rarely mate as I understand it, but of course they do mate at regular intervals or we would have no little frogs. They are aggressive towards one another and the female will eat the smaller males if they position themselves wrongly; then after the spawning the males can be aggressive towards the tired-out female, I don't know for sure, some species of frogfish (like sargassumfish Histrio histrio) are more aggressive than others.

 

Hope this data helps, as said it will be great when we have a frogfish expert publish additional data soon. Best, Carol

Edited by seagrant

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