Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 5, pp 1849–1861 | Cite as

Spawning patterns in the leopard grouper, Mycteroperca rosacea, in comparison with other aggregating groupers

  • Brad E. ErismanEmail author
  • Michele L. Buckhorn
  • Philip A. Hastings
Research Article


We documented the spawning patterns of the leopard grouper, Mycteroperca rosacea, from April to June 2005 in the central Gulf of California, Mexico to draw comparisons with other aggregate-spawning groupers and provide information useful for management of their fishery. Adults formed spawning aggregations of 150 to >700 individuals at specific sites, and spawning occurred daily at these sites from late April through early June. Courtship occurred throughout the day, but spawning was restricted to the evening hours. Adults spawned in groups of 6–40 fish, and pair-spawning was not observed. The group-spawning behavior of adults and the gonosomatic indices of mature males (maximum = 7.2%) suggest that sperm competition was present. The site-specificity of leopard grouper spawning aggregations and diel spawning period were typical of most aggregating groupers, and the size and structure of these aggregations was similar to other species in the genus Mycteroperca. Leopard grouper behavior patterns were unusual in that spawning aggregations persisted for extended periods, spawning was not synchronized with the lunar cycle, and adults aggregated during non-spawning periods. The extensive duration and site-specificity of spawning aggregations and the propensity of M. rosacea to form aggregations year-round increases the vulnerability of the species to overfishing. Policies that limit harvest from these aggregations are needed to improve the management of leopard grouper fisheries in the Gulf of California.


Standard Length Sperm Competition Rosacea Lunar Cycle Recreational Fisher 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to R. Lopez for granting permission to work within the Loreto Marine Park. We thank R. Murillo and the Dolphin Dive Center for transport to Pt. Lobos and Arturo’s Sportfishing for permission to collect data from sportfishers. We thank J. Sanchez, M. Craig, and J. Hyde for assistance in the field, B. Macewicz and N. Holland for help with histological preparations, H.J. Walker and C. Klepadlo for laboratory support, Chih-hao Hsieh for help with statistical analyses, F. Arcas and Grupo Ecologista Antares (GEA) for information on spawning behavior, and J. Graham, R. Rosenblatt, L. Allen, N. Holland, J. Moore, R. Warner, C. Petersen, J. Rosales-Casián, J. Torre (Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C.), and K. Rhodes for their valuable suggestions and comments on this research. This study was supported by research grants to B.E.E. from the PADI Foundation (Proposal # 48), the SIO Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and the National Science Foundation (Grant # 0333444), Maxwell Fenmore Fellowship, Carl Hubbs Fellowship, California Seagrant, SIO Graduate Department, and SIO Marine Vertebrate Collection, and from a UC MEXUS Small Grant to P.A.H. and J. Rosales-Casián. Additional support was provided by research grants to M.L.B. from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/Anheuser Busch Conservation Scholarship, UC MEXUS Dissertation Grant, and the UC Davis Extension University Research Expedition Program (UREP).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brad E. Erisman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michele L. Buckhorn
    • 2
  • Philip A. Hastings
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and Policy University of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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