Aggressive Territorial Ethogram Of The Of The Red-Mouthed Goby, Gobius cruentatus (Gmelin, 1789)


Marta Picciulin2, Linda Sebastianutto3, Marco Costantini2, Martina Rocca1 and Enrico A. Ferrero1


1 C.S.E.E. Department of Biology, University of Trieste v. Giorgieri 7, 34127 Trieste, Italy.


2 C.S.E.E. Etho-ecology Marine Laboratory, Natural Marine Reserve of Miramare - WWF, viale Miramare 349, 34014 Trieste, Italy

3 SISSA-ISAS International School of Advanced Studies, Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, via Lionello Stock 2/2, Trieste, Italy.


Abstract: We present a detailed description of the territorial behaviour of G. cruentatus. We staged simulated intrusions in a captive setting to overcome the inherent difficulty of observing these interactions in the field. An 'intruder' was introduced in an experimental arena containing a ‘resident’ male. The response of the resident was video-taped and audio-recorded. The tested animals (two groups of 5 animals each) played in turn both the resident and the intruder roles. A total of 40 territorial interactions were recorded. Twenty-six behavioural units (BU) were identified and described according to their physical and functional interpretations; average duration and frequency of occurrence of each BU were reported. During the contests, resident fish mainly produced sounds. According to the ‘bourgeois strategy’, contests were settled in a maximum of 10 min, with the owner of the territory usually resulting the winner. Differences in body size seemed not to influence the contest outcome, whereas resource value did.


Key words: behaviour, agonistic contests, sound emission, Gobiidae.


Full text (PDF)