Monday, January 25, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 4th week in January - Potter's Angelfish

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 4th week in January:
Potter's angelfish (Centropyge potteri), a native reef dweller, spawns this week - the week before the full moon. Its reproductive behavior is tied not only to the moon phase but also to the season and time of day, in a complex pattern that appears to increase the odds that its larvae will survive. Spawning occurs over high reef areas at dusk, when the lunar pull creates tides likely to carry larvae offshore, away from potential predators resting in the lower reef. At this time of year, larvae subsequently will be picked up by northwesterly ocean currents and swept along the archipelago, improving the chances that juveniles eventually will be redeposited on a Hawaiian reef.

Potter's angelfish is among the most common inhabitants of island reefs. It grows to a maximum length of five inches, and like other fish that have little or no value as food, it lacks a Hawaiian name. Today, however, this shy algae-eater has gained popularity as an aquarium fish, ranking third in commercial trade in Hawaii.

Image and text from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

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