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Atka Mackerel Nesting Videos

Atka Mackerel
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Video

Underwater videos taken in the nearshore areas of Finch Cove, Alaska, document the behavior associated with courtship, spawning, and nest guarding of Atka mackerel. The videos, taken by Bob Lauth and Scott McEntire of the Center's Groundfish Program, are the first to locate and characterize an Atka mackerel nesting area in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

More information on the nesting study can be found on the Groundfish Program's Quarterly research report.

Please Note:  Playing the videos on this page requires Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer.
 

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Atka mackerel nesting ground near Finch Cove, Seguam Island in the Aleutian Archipelago. Sexually mature males have a bright lemon-yellow coloration and are close to the boulder-strewn bottom aggressively guarding their individual nesting sites. Note the erect dorsal fin and arched back of the two males in the foreground. Females have a steely blue-gray coloration with distinct white blotches behind their heads and on their dorsum. Females are circling overhead, presumably looking for a suitable male and nesting site.


 

 
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Atka mackerel nesting site near Finch Cove, Seguam Island in the Aleutian Archipelago. A gravid female Atka mackerel approaches a male’s nest in the foreground. Another male in the background exhibits the “nose-dive tailwag” behavior in an attempt to lure the female down to his nest for spawning. The scene is replayed showing the tailwag behavior in slow motion.

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Atka mackerel nesting site near Finch Cove, Seguam Island in the Aleutian Archipelago. A male Atka mackerel tends his nesting site by clearing away a green sea urchin. Males have been observed removing other marine life including kelp, hydroids, sea stars, snails, and chitons.

 
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Atka mackerel nesting site near Finch Cove, Seguam Island in the Aleutian Archipelago. A male Atka mackerel attracts a gravid female down to his nest, corralling and prodding her to lay her eggs inside the nesting territory. Notice how well the female blends in with the surrounding environment.



More underwater video is available on the RACE website
 


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