Sound production by red hind Epinephelus guttatus in spatially segregated spawning aggregations


Many fishes, including groupers, produce sounds associated with mating behavior; recording and analyzing the occurrence of these sounds can provide long time-series records of grouper use of spawning habitat. Red hind Epinephelus guttatus sound production was recorded on spawning aggregation sites off the west coast of Puerto Rico and at Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Audio- video recordings were used to identify a species-specific sound produced by male red hind, most commonly during territorial patrols, and also during interactions with females. This sound is low in frequency (50 to 400 Hz) and consists of a series of pulses repeated at a variable rate. Long-term acoustic recorders were placed off the west coast of Puerto Rico at Abrir La Sierra and at Mona Island to record the timing of red hind sound production from January through March. Red hind sounds were detected at all times of the day, with peaks in sound production just before dusk. Monthly peaks in sound production were evident in each time series, but the monthly peak in sound production at Abrir La Sierra was 6 d later than the peak at Mona Island, suggesting that the timing of spawning of these 2 aggregations, while on a lunar schedule, was not broadly synchronized during this time period. This research lays the groundwork for both long-term monitoring and mapping of red hind spawning sites that will be useful for managing spawning aggregations, especially in remote areas. 

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