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Re: Those amazing flag fish

> Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 11:31:39 -0700 (MST)
> From: "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill at rt66_com>
> Subject: Those amazing flag fish
> Folks,
> Last spring I bought a group of American flag fish (Jordanella floridae);

snip...(males died)

> The tanks these fish were in got moved last fall to them get out of the
> way of our new building and remodelling.  


> ...when what should I see but a 1-centimeter long baby flag fish
> darting about among the crypts!
> Are these fish so slow-growing that it could have been spawned last
> spring, only now reaching a length of 1 cm? 

Nope. They grow to maturity rather quickly (4-6 months?).

> Or might have one of the
> remaining females changed gender, like a female wrasse can when no males
> are about?  

Very unlikely. No pupfish has been known to do it, AFAIK.

> A friend speculated that the females could store sperm, like
> some livebearing females seem to do.  Does anyone know if that is possible
> or likely?

Nope. They spawn much like sunfish or cichlids, and the Father guards
the eggs and nest. In deep water, they are plant spawners and don't tend
the eggs. They are not internally fertilized.

Among Rivulus, *R. marmoratus* females lay hatchable (haploid) eggs
without fertilization. All the offspring without a male are clones of
the mother. This *could* have happened, but has never been reported,
AFAIK. Both *marmoratus* and *floridae* come from similar, often
brackish, Florida waters, so????

More likely is that you do have a male. Do all the fish have a clear
black eyespot in the dorsal? Females always do, and males rarely or
never do after leaving juvenile status behind. You can use this to sex
*floridae* at just a couple of months of age, usually (< 1 cm).


Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntley1 at home dot com
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