Fish Reproduction

How Do Fish Reproduce?

The reproduction process in fish varies in many ways, but mostly they lay eggs in great quantity that are fertilised and distributed outside the body. Pelagic fish eggs are usually expelled in the open water. Many freshwater and shore fish lay their eggs on the lower part or among plants. Some eggs are sticky. The mortality rate of the young, particularly the eggs, is extremely high, and only very few individuals grow to maturity out of hundreds, thousands, and in certain instances millions of eggs laid.

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Males produce sperm in two (sometimes one) testes within the body cavity, usually as a whitish substance called milt. A sperm duct connects each testis to a urogenital opening behind the vent or anus in bony fishes. The duct in sharks and rays, as well as in cyclostomes, leads to a cloaca. The pelvic fins are sometimes modified to aid in the transmission of milk to the eggs at the female's vent or on the substrate where the female has placed them. Sometimes accessory organs, such as the claspers of many sharks and rays, are used to fertilise females internally.

 

Let's talk about fish laying eggs. In females, eggs form in two ovaries (sometimes only one) and travel through the ovaries to the urogenital opening and then to the outside. Internal fertilisation occurs in some fishes, but the eggs are shed before development occurs. Live young are produced by members of about a dozen families of bony fishes (teleosts) and sharks. Many skates and rays have live young as well. For a few bony fishes, the eggs develop inside the female, and the young ones emerge when the eggs hatch out. Others develop within the ovary and are fed by ovarian tissues once they hatch (viviparous). Fishes also use other methods to feed their young within the female. Young are born at a relatively large size and in relatively small numbers in all live-bearers. Males of at least one species of surfperches from the Pacific coasts of North America, Japan, and Korea are born sexually mature, despite not being fully grown, in one family of primarily marine fishes.

 

Some fishes are hermaphroditic, meaning they produce both sperm and eggs at different stages of their lives. Self-fertilization, on the other hand, is probably uncommon.

 

Successful reproduction and, in many cases, defence of the eggs and young are ensured by stereotypical and sometimes elaborate courtship and parental behaviour on the part of either the male or the female, or both.

 

Some fishes construct nests by hollowing out pits in the sand, while others construct nests out of plant materials and sticky strings emitted by the kidneys (sticklebacks), and others produce a swarm of mucus-covered bubbles at the water's surface. These structures are where the eggs are laid. Eggs are incubated in the mouths of some cichlids and catfishes.

 

Some fish, such as salmon, migrate long distances from the ocean and up large rivers to reproduce in gravel beds where they will hatch (anadromous fishes). Some, like freshwater eels (family Anguillidae), live and mature in freshwater before migrating to the sea to spawn (catadromous fishes). Other fishes make shorter migrations from lakes to streams or the ocean, or they enter spawning habitats that they would not normally occupy in other ways.

 

Do Fish Lay Eggs?

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Barbs, rasboras, goldfish, tetras, danios, betas, angelfish, as well as gouramis, are all essential egg-layers. Indian barbs include the rosy barb, patterned barb, as well as aruli barb. Barbs of Indian origin are rosy barb, striped barb and aruli barb. The major group of danios comprises giant danio, pearl danio and zebra danio. Among rasboras slender rasbora, glowlight rasbora and scissortail are the main ones. Goldfishes are mostly preferred for the aquarium. Common varieties are comet, lion head, red cap, veil tail, bubble eye etc. The fish grows up to 20 cm in length, but it starts its breeding when it is 6 cm long.


Tetras are small fishes that range in size from 3 to 8 cm and are native to South America. The most common types are black widow tetras, flame tetras, neon tetras, and cardinal tetras. Betta splendens, also known as Siamese fighter, comes in a variety of colours. When other males are present, the males become aggressive. Angelfish are popular aquarium fish that come in a variety of colours and patterns, including black, veil tail, marble, and albino. The three-spot gourami, pearl gourami, moonlight gourami, giant gourami, and kissing gourami are the most important gouramies.


Anatomy of Fish Reproductive System

Internal sexual organs are present in all fish, and some have evolved external organs as well. Male fish have testes that produce sperm, while female fish have ovaries that produce eggs. The next step is fertilisation, and different species use different methods to ensure consistent fertilisation. Because fish reproduce sexually, if eggs are not fertilised, no young are produced.


Many fish species do not mate in the same way that mammals do. The female scatters the eggs produced by her ovaries into the water, while the male ejects his sperm into the same area. The key to this method's success is dispersing a large number of eggs and sperm so that sperm can find an egg in the water and fertilise it.


Some fish species produce fewer eggs and have devised methods to ensure that the few eggs that are produced are fertilised. Males in these fish have specialised fins or protrusions on their bodies that allow them to deliver sperm to a specific area on the female fish. Females have oviducts that connect the ovaries to the outside world, and sperm swims up the oviduct to reach the eggs. Some female fish species can store sperm for several egg-laying cycles to ensure they always have sperm available for fertilisation.


The fertilised eggs may remain inside the mother fish and hatch internally in fish that use internal fertilisation of the eggs. In this case, the young hatchlings are either discharged by the mother at the time of hatching or remain within the mother for an extra period of time during which they are fed from a placenta in the mother's body. The parents can also take the fertilised eggs into their mouths until the eggs hatch as a final method of ensuring the survival of the young. The children can then continue to live inside their parents' mouths until they are old enough to be self-sufficient.


Fish Reproductive System

Reproduction differs depending on the species, but it generally occurs in one of three ways. In most cases, the female deposits eggs in the water, which are immediately fertilised by the male's sperm. Another method is for fertilisation to occur within the female's body prior to dropping the eggs into the water. The female retains the eggs within her body in the third and final method, and the young are born alive. This is how some sharks and guppies give birth.

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Nonguarders: Most freshwater fish scatter their eggs rather than guard them. The eggs produced by a female trout is determined by her size. An 8-inch fish can only lay 300 eggs, whereas a 12-inch nest can contain 1,000 eggs!

 

Guarders: Some fish, like darters and catfish, protect their eggs. Males will chase predators away.

 

Bearers: These fish transport their young as they develop, either inside the female or outside, frequently in the male's mouth. Sharks, rays, molly, and gambusia all have live young.

 

How Do Fish Reproduce Sexually?

Let's talk about sexual reproduction in fish! Almost all fish reproduce sexually, which involves the fusion of sperm produced by the testes and eggs produced by the ovaries. Most species have different female and male sexes, but many are hermaphrodites, which means that an individual has both testes and ovaries. 

 

Because a hermaphrodite can only produce one type of gamete, either sperm or eggs, their egg cells must be cross-fertilized by another member of the species. Many hermaphroditic fish alternate between producing sperm and eggs during distinct reproductive cycles. There are a few hermaphroditic species that produce both eggs and sperm, such as hamlets and salmon. Parthenogenesis produces offspring who are exact replicas of their mothers. This type of reproduction had previously only been observed in bony fish. Parthenogenesis was confirmed in 2007 when scientists discovered a pup born to an isolated female hammerhead shark, similar to the one shown in Figure below.

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Summary

  • Almost all fish reproduce sexually, which involves the fusion of sperm produced by the testes and eggs produced by the ovaries.

  • Most species have different female and male sexes, but many are hermaphrodites, which means that an individual has both testes and ovaries.

  • In most fish species, fertilisation is done externally. Females and males both release large amounts of eggs and sperm into the water at the same time.

  • Given that the vast majority of fish species (>95 percent) undergo external fertilisation, it stands to reason that the eggs develop outside of the mother's body.

  • Most shark and ray species, on the other hand, develop their eggs inside their bodies but without direct nourishment from the mother, a process known as ovoviviparity.

  • Before establishing into an adult, the offspring of oviparous fish generally go through a larval stage.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1. How Do Fish Lay Their Eggs? Do Fish Have Menstruation?

Answer. Fish reproduction methods vary, but most fish lay a large number of small eggs that are fertilised and scattered outside of the body. Pelagic fish eggs are usually suspended in the open water. Many freshwater and shore fish lay their eggs on the bottom or among plants. Some eggs are sticky. No, they go through a spawning process. With the exception of salmon, when a female fish reaches breeding age, she will carry eggs that, if not fertilised, will be released and eaten by other fish.

Question 2. What is the Process by Which Fish Reproduce Sexually? Do Fish Have Both Gonads and Ovaries?

Answer. Fish reproduction is the process by which fish reproduce. Almost all fish reproduce sexually, which involves the fusion of sperm produced by the testes and eggs produced by the ovaries. In most fish species, fertilisation is done externally. Females and males both release large amounts of eggs and sperm into the water at the same time.

 

The chalk bass, on the other hand, can produce both male and female gametes (sperm or eggs) at the same time. Though simultaneous hermaphroditism is not unique to chalk bass, it is uncommon, especially since the fish do not self-fertilize.