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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Baird, T.A. and B.L. Olla. 1991. Social and reproductive behavior of a captive group of walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma. Environmental Biology of Fishes 30:295-301.


The social and reproductive behavior of a group of four male and seven female walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, were observed in a large tank. Pollock spent most of their time swimming in a loose aggregation near the surface. Males descended from the aggregation more often than females to follow and make physical contact with other males as well as with females. The difference between males and females in the frequency of diving in our tank is consistent with the reported pattern of depth segregation of the sexes in natural pollock spawning aggregations. The frequency of social interactions increased when pollock became reproductively active and was higher at night and during twilight when most of the spawning occurred. Male interactions with females most frequently involved physical contact, while male interactions with other males were more often limited to following. There was no indication that male-male interactions result in the formation of stable social dominance relationships that determine priority of access to mates, as has been suggested previously for walleye pollock. Rather, following and contact interactions appear to promote male identification of potential mates and encounters with ripe females. The possible functional significance of male social interactions is discussed in relation to reports on natural walleye pollock spawning aggregations.


Last updated 30 March, 2009

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