Round Goby - Reproduction

Reproduction

Round gobies exhibit male parental care. Females can spawn up to six times during the spawning season, which spans April to September. Males will migrate from the deeper water, where overwintering occurs, into shallower breeding grounds during the beginning of the mating season. The males are territorial and will guard nests of eggs and newly hatched young, resulting in successful hatch rates of up to 95%. Its eggs are 4 mm by 2.2 mm in size. Female round gobies reach sexual maturity in 1 to 2 years while males do so in 3 to 4 years. Gobies in the Laurentian Great Lakes typically mature up to 1 year earlier than in their native habitat in Europe. The male releases a steroid sex pheromone that attracts females to their territory. The male may also use visual displays, such as changing its color from beige to black and its posture, along with sounds, during courtship. The females deposit their eggs in male-guarded crevices between rocks. Egg clutches can contain up to 5,000 eggs. Males defend these eggs from predators, and continuously fan them to provide the developing embryos with oxygenated water.

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