Reproductive life-history strategies in a species-rich assemblage of Amazonian electric fishes

Joseph C. Waddell, Steve M. Njeru, Yasmine M. Akhiyat, Benjamin I. Schachner, Ericka V. Correa-Roldán, William G.R. Crampton

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Abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The reproductive biology of only a small fraction of Neotropical freshwater fishes has been described, and detailed comparative studies of reproductive life-history variation in the Neotropical ichthyofauna are lacking. Here we describe interspecific variation in reproductive life history for a multi-species assemblage of the electric knifefish genus Brachyhypopomus (Hypopomidae: Gymnotiformes: Ostariophysi) from Amazonian floodplain and terra firme stream systems. During a year-round quantitative sampling program, we collected and measured key life-history traits from 3,410 individuals. Based on oocyte size distributions, and on circannual variation in gonadosomatic indices, hepatosomatic indices, and capture-per-unit-effort abundance of reproductive adults, we concluded that all species exhibit a single protracted annual breeding season during which females spawn fractionally. We found small clusters of post-larval individuals in one floodplain species and one terra firme stream species, but no signs of parental care. From analyses of body size-frequency distributions and otolith growth increments, we concluded that five species in our study area have approximately one-year (annual) semelparous life history with a single reproductive period followed by death, while two species have a two-year iteroparous life history, with breeding in both year-groups. Despite predictions from life-history theory we found no salient correlations between life history strategy (semelparity or iteroparity) and habitat occupancy (floodplain or terra firme stream). In the iteroparous species B. beebei, we documented evidence for reproductive restraint in the first breeding season relative to the second breeding season and argue that this is consistent with age-regulated terminal investment.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

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    Waddell, J. C., Njeru, S. M., Akhiyat, Y. M., Schachner, B. I., Correa-Roldán, E. V., & Crampton, W. G. R. (2019). Reproductive life-history strategies in a species-rich assemblage of Amazonian electric fishes. PLoS ONE, 14(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226095