Although the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, is widespread in the Great Lakes and has an extended breeding season with a high reproductive rate; its spawning behaviour remains elusive. We present the first reported accounts of spawning by the round goby in the laboratory. By simulating winter conditions and restoring spring conditions, we induced round gobies to spawn in October 2007, March 2008, May 2008, and January 2009. In one case, fanning by the nest-holding male began 10 days before egg deposition and, during this period, the male rubbed secretions along the ceiling of the nest. Males were choosy about which gravid females entered the nest and prevented entry by some females. Spawning involved repeated inversions by females and males releasing gametes on the ceiling of the nest. Males guarded the nest by blocking the entrance, producing agonistic vocalizations and chasing intruders. Inside the nest, eggs were regularly inspected by the males and constantly ventilated using pectoral and caudal fins. Up to three gravid females spawned sequentially in a nest. Peak ventilation occurred after egg deposition and declined with time until the parental male ate the eggs. The decline of parental care and egg cannibalism was likely an artifact of laboratory conditions and small brood size. Our findings offer new information on the reproductive habits of the invasive round goby. Because the reproductive sequence in the laboratory seems easy to disrupt, the procedures may lead to a management tool to control the spread of the species into new areas.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4