Hawkfish Breeding/Spawning Overview - Cirrhitidae

Hawkfish Breeding/Spawning Overview - Cirrhitidae

Postby aomont » Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:03 pm

Family Cirrhitidae - Hawkfishes – Breeding, Mating, Spawning, Rearing Overview

1 - Species covered in this forum:

The Family Cirrhitidae - fish in this family are usually referred to as hawkfishes and comprises species such as:

Amblycirrhitus pinos - the "Redspotted hawkfish"
Cirrhitichthys aureus - the "Yellow hawkfish"
Neocirrhites armatus - the "Flame hawkfish"
Oxycirrhites typus - the "Longnose hawkfish"
Paracirrhites arcatus - the " Arc-eye hawkfish"
Paracirrhites forsteri - the "Blackside hawkfish"

For an overview of the whole family Cirrhitidae, look at Fishbase.

2 – Common characteristics:
Hawkfishes come mainly from Indo-Pacific, although there are a few species from the Atlantic Ocean. These fishes lack a swimbladder and hence spends most of their time perching on rocks or coral growths watching for preys.
They are moderately aggressive fishes as well as carnivorous and will eat crustaceans, snails and fish (whatever fits in their mouth). If a housed in a mult-species aquarium, tankmates that are too shy/peaceful may be harassed.

For more basic information, visit - WetWebMedia.

3 – Reproduction:

3.1 – Sex determination:
Hawkfishes are sequential hermaphrodites (protogynous), although some species, such as Cirrhitichthys aureus, is capable of gender changing in both directions. O. typus may also be capable of bi-directional sex change, and Thaler proposes that in fact some Hawkfish may be simultaenous hermaphrodites (more below).

3.2 – Sexual organization:
Usually an harem of one male and several females (2 to 8 ) is more common but some species (O. typus and N. armatus) are tpyically observed in pairs and said to be facultative monogamous (if the condition is favorable, male can get extra females - O. typus and N. armatus). In the wild, females will become males if the male is removed, but also at times females will become male in the presence of a male, and then will attempt to establish a new harem.

3.3 – Sexing:
As with many protogynous species, males are usually larger than females, and that is the extent of sexual dimorphism in the Hawkfish. In the case of O. typus, at least one report states to the contrary that males in fact remain smaller than females.

There are no known reports of sexual dichromatism, although there is one report that O. typus males may have black trim on the jaw, pelvic and caudal fins when excited.

3.4 - Pairing / Setting Up Broodstock:
Similar approaches to those used in other protogynous species may be used. The first option is to attempt pairing a larger specimen (presumed male) to a smaller (presumed female. The other option is to place two immature individuals together, hoping that the dominant (larger) fish will become male. It may be wise to take precautions when first introducing potential mates to each other, perhaps to first separate them with egg create or a tank divider or other means to allow them to interact without any direct physical contact.

As sexual reversal is known to occur in one species (C. aureus), trying to pair two males may be a possibility as long as a barrier between them is provided until the reversal is completed.

Thaler in Coral reports keeping a trio of O. typus in which the dominant male was replaced by a female, and then the former male began to function as a female (and later changed sex again to become male again). Based on Thaler's observations of O. typus and N. armatus, she questions whether some species may in fact be simultaneous hermaphrodites, and proposes that dominance may be the deciding factor as to which gender role each individual performs. If this hypothesis is proven, it would mean that in theory, any 2 Hawkfish might be placed together to form a compatible pair.

It is suggested by Scott Michaels that pairs and harems of Hawkfish are not "permenant" and stable over the long term. He relates stories of Hawkfish pairs coexisting peacefully, but then one day things changing, suggest that a female may become a subordinate male, and while in the wild the new male would simply leave, in captivity, this now incompatible hawkfish will be murdered.

3.5 – Courtship:
Male and females stay in different perching points all day and males joins ready-to spawn female usually prior to sunset (either at “her place” or on a “neutral” location). Courtship involves males positioning themselves parallel to the female, at times nuzzling the female's abdomen.

3.6 – Spawning:
All hawkfish are pelagic spawners however, there had been a report of O. typus being a demersal spawner. Spawns can take place just before or after sunset.
Pelagic spawning of O. typus has been reported and it spawns 20 to 25 cm above the pair starting location, once they face downwards.
For the other spexies, spawning ascent usually range from 20 to 60 cm in length but can get to 1,0 to 2,5 m in some species (Paracirrhites. arcatus, P. fosteri and Cirrhitus pinnulatus)

4 – Eggs:

4.1 – Size:
C. aureus – 750-780 um
O. typus – 690 um

4.2 – Quantity:
Not listed in the sources obtained.

4.3 – Characteristics
Eggs are transparent, pelagic and contain a single oil globule.

4.4 – Incubation period/Hatching temp:
C. aureus – 19 to 22,5h (25C)
O. typus – 15h (27C)

5 – Larvae:

5.1 – Size at hatching:
C. aureus – 2,23 – 2,28mm

5.2 – Yolk sac present at hatch: Yes
5.3 – Mouth present at hatch: No
5.4 – Eyes developed at hatch: No

6 - Rearing:

6.1 - Breeding & Rearing Techniques
The only information obtained (C. aureus) describes na attempt to rear them with rotifers but all larvae died up to day 10.

6.2 – Day at first feeding:
C. aureus – Probably day 3 (mouth and anus already opened)

6.3 - Starvation Time:
C. aureus – All larvae died at day 10 but deaths started peaking at day 4
Additional - Frische is quoted for an unidentified species as larvae retaining a yolk for up to 1 week.

6.4 – Feeding scheme:
Not available... Rotifers were not suitable to C. aureus.

6.5 – Age at meta:
Not achieved thus far. Settlement in the wild is said to take weeks, and at sizes of up to 4 cm. Possible settlement sizes for O. typus and Cyprinocirrhites polyactis would be around 3 cm given observations of "postlarvae" in the wild.

All of these observations suggest a long pelagic, pre-juvenile phase, but that should not be a great discouragement to prospective breeder. Remember, the most difficult periods with pelagic spawners seem to be first feeding, and the first couple weeks, after which larger prey items can be accepted (and the larvae can become much more robust).

7 – Species been reared successfully
To the extent of the papers I could read, no species of hawkfish has being successfully raised in captivity, although some species have spawned fertile eggs in aquaria.
C. aureus – Has spawned in captivity (100 x 130 x 70 cm tank) and the last larva died at day 10, although no growth was seen past day 4. Only rotifers (B. plicatilis) were offered.
There are reports from Yoichi Tanaka about Cirrhitichthys aprinus, C. oxycephalus, C. falco, Cirrhitops hubbardi, Oxycirrhites typus, Paracirrhites forsteri and P. arcatus spawning and hatching in captivity but I could not get to the papers (not even to the abstracts...). See post below to help !

8 – References

8.1 - Articles
Donaldson T.J. Courtship and spawning of the hawkfish Cirrhitichthys falco, at Miyake-jima, Japan. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology Vol. 33, N. 3, pp. 329-333, 1986.

Donaldson T.J., Colin P.L. Pelagic spawning of the hawkfish Oxycirrhites typus (Cirrhitidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes Vol. 24, N. 4, pp. 295-300, 1989

Donaldson T.J. Facultative monogamy in obligate coral-dwelling hawkfishes (Cirrhitidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes Vol. 26, N. 4, pp. 295-302, 1989 (I could only get the abstract...)

Donaldson T.J. Reproductive Behavior and Social Organization of Some Pacific Hawkfish (Cirrhitidae). Japanese Journal of Ichthyology Vol. 36, N. 4, pp. 439-458, 1990.

Tanaka Y., Suzuki K. Spawning, eggs and larvae of the Hawkfish, Cirrhichthys aureus, ia an aquarium. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology Vol. 38, N. 3, pp. 283-288, 1991.

Kobayashi K., Suzuki, K. Hermaphroditism and sexual function in Cirrhitichthys aureus and the other Japanese hawkfish. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology Vol. 38, N. 4, pp. 397-410, 1992. (I can only read the abstract and images description as the rest of the text is in Japanese...)

Sadovy Y., Donaldson T.J. Sexual pattern of Neocirrhites armatus (Cirrhitidae) with notes on other hawkfish species. Environmental Biology of Fishes Vol. 42, pp. 143-150, 1995.

Coral Magazine, Volume 3, Number 3, June/July 2006, is the "Hawkfish" edition, with several articles.

Frisch, J. 1999. Erfolgreiche Nachzuchten im Meerwasseraquarium. Bede Verlag, Ruhmannsfelden, Germany.

8.2 - Web Content
Hawks of the Sea - http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002- ... /index.php


Michaels, Scott. "Basslets, Dottybacks and Hawkfishes". TFH, 2004.

Thresher, Ronald E. "Reproduction in Reef Fishes". TFH, 1984.

9 - Compiled By
Anderson Monteiro - aomont – aomont2@yahoo.com.br
Matt Pedersen - mpedersen - matt@cichlidrecipe.com
Last Update: January, 15 2009

"Posso não saber de nada mas suspeito de muita coisa..."
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Anyone can help !!!

Postby aomont » Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:04 pm

Hi MOFIB´s ! :D
This overview is intended to be a start point to everyone with interest in hawkfishes and we need YOUR help to keep it as much up to date as possible.
So, if you pass by any link, scientific paper or book that can add information to this overview, please reply here.
Your post will be reviewed, the information updated and, after some time, the post will be deleted to keep the focus on the overview. ;)
Also suggestions are welcome !

Group Overview Committee.

"Posso não saber de nada mas suspeito de muita coisa..."
Posts: 1933
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Postby aomont » Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:14 pm

Here is a call for help !

I can´t get any of these papers:

1 - Reproductive behavior, egg and larval development of the hawkfish, oxycirrhites typus and Cirrhitops hubbardi, in the aquarium.
Bull. Inst. Oceanic Res. & Develop., TOKAI Univ. (Bulletin of Universities and Institutes ,1990 ( 11 / 12 , 41-57

2 - Reproductive hehavior, and laval development of the hawkfish, Paracirrhites forsteri and Paracirrhites arcatus, in an aquarium.
Journal of the Faculty of Marine science and Technology TOKAI UNIV.
(Bulletin of Universities and Institutes ,1991 ) / 32 , 243-251

3 - The reproductive behavior, egg an larval development of the hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys aprinus in an aquarium.
Bull. Inst. Oceanic Res. & Develop., TOKAI Univ.
(Bulletin of Universities and Institutes ,1994 ) / 15 , 39-48

4 - Reproductive behavior, egg and larval development of two species of the Cirrhitichtys, Cirrhitidae - C. oxycephalus and C. falco -
Journal of the Faculty of marine science and technology TOKAI Univ.
(Bulletin of Universities and Institutes ,1994 ) / 38 , 213-232

5 - Reproductive behavior, eggs and larval development of three species, three genus of the Cirrhiti-dae.
Journal of the Faculty of Marine Science and Technology TOKAI Univ.
(Bulletin of Universities and Institutes ,1995 ) / 39 , 173-194

These may contribute a lot to this overview.
I think they are written in Japanese. Well this will be a problem for me... If anyone is willing to translate them (if we can get them) this will be awesome. If not, I´ll try to use the abstract.

Thanks for the time and help !


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Re: Hawkfish Breeding/Spawning Overview - Cirrhitidae

Postby Jwhitney » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:49 am

-I just came across your post - although it was over 3 years ago, I was wondering if you still might need these papers? I am a PhD student working on Arceye Hawkfish at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. I have a few dozen P. arcatus in a wetlab here in Hawaii and am working on experimental mating trials between different color morphs. I ran into similar problems finding papers on mating/breeding/and rearing in hawkfish, but over the years managed to track down most of the papers on your list. I have got one of the Tanaka (1991) papers on breeding and rearing in P. arcatus and P. forsteri translated from Japanese. In short, Tanaka had a pair of P. arcatus that spawned for 84 days consecutively! They managed to get eggs to hatch and reared larvae for 4 days before they all died (~time of first feeding). I tried to upload the pdf's of these papers along with this post, but they all failed to upload. If you or anyone else reading are interested in copies of this and other obscure papers on hawkfish just email me (jw2 'at' hawaii.edu) and I'd be happy to send you copies.

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