Many teleost fishes in lowland fresh waters spawn in ephemeral flooded areas, the bottoms of which are prone to hypoxia. Little is known about how embryos and larvae deal with these potentially hostile environments. This study examines the functional and behavioral ontogeny of one such species, the kissing loach (Parabotia curta). Kissing loach eggs are demersal and adhesive. Hatching occurs at 24.8 ± 0.1 h post-fertilization at 25°C, much earlier than most fish species. The newly hatched larvae are precocious with no functional mouth, fins or eye pigmentation. Swimbladder inflation normally occurs at about 4 days posthatch, even before which the hatched larvae moved immediately toward the water surface to hang from water moss. Experiments with larvae 20 h after hatching showed that they spent significantly less time on the bottom in hypoxic water (2 mg/l) than in normoxic water, and suggest that hypoxia is a major directive factor in eliciting surfacing behavior. For the kissing loach, we have previously reported short-term spawning after the formation of flood areas as well as wide scattering of the spawned eggs in the temporal flooded areas. These traits with the present results of hatching at an early stage and the immediate upward movement of larvae are considered to be effective strategies for using ephemeral, hypoxic flooded areas for reproduction.
- Flooded area
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics