Mating behaviour and gamete release in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata, Linnaeus 1758) held in captivity

  • Zohar Ibarra-Zatarain IRTA, Ctra de Poble Nou, km 5.5. 43540 Sant Carles de la Ràpita (Tarragona)
  • Neil Duncan IRTA, Ctra de Poble Nou, km 5.5. 43540 Sant Carles de la Ràpita (Tarragona)
Keywords: mate selection, pair group mass spawning, rush, aggregation


The present study aimed to describe the reproductive behaviour of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) in captivity. Twenty-four mature gilthead seabream, divided in two tanks, were utilized for the present study. Reproductive behaviour was recorded using submersibles cameras. A total of 67 spawning events were analysed. The mean duration time that gilthead seabream spent spawning was 54 ± 4 min/day, during which mean number of individual spawning events was 5.6 ± 0.2. The mean volume of eggs produced by both broodstocks was 405 ± 13.4 mL with a fertilization rate of 91.6 ± 0.4%. The reproductive behaviour began with a schooling behaviour and then forming light aggregations. From an aggregation or an encounter while swimming freely a female initiated a spawning rush followed by one or more males to gametes liberation. The spawning rush was brief, 1.6 ± 0.5 sec, over an approximately 1.7 ± 0.2 m distance from the tank bottom to the water surface. Pair spawning, between a single female and male, was the most common (71.6%). Group spawning was less common and involved a single female spawning with two males (22.5%) or three males (4.9%). Spawning rushes involving more than one female were not observed. Gilthead seabream in the present study presented a tendency to pair spawn and eggs collected as a “spawn” were actually the sum of many separate spawning events over a short time period. This is the first description of gilthead seabream spawning and the findings help to understand microsatellite based observations of spawning kinetics.


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How to Cite
Ibarra-ZatarainZ., & DuncanN. (2015). Mating behaviour and gamete release in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata, Linnaeus 1758) held in captivity. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 13(1), e0401.
Animal breeding, genetics and reproduction