Behavior Observations

Lingcod Nest Guarding Activity - March 2011

During a Serices of lingcod census dive in March of 2011, Ken Collins observed a male guarding an egg mass that had fallen to the sand. The following are Ken's observations. Copyright 2011 Ken Collins.

This egg mass was initially observed on Jan 30, 2011 on a feature in the central area of the EUWP. This site had been surveyed on Jan 22 and this egg mass was not present at that time. Thus I know that the nest was less than a week old when it was discovered. The nest's dimensions were 30cm x 20cm x 30cm (12 x 8 x 12 inches) at the time it was discovered. The egg mass fell off the concrete structure behind it about 3 weeks prior to this picture - sometime between February 13 and February 27. 

The guard fish (Fish #129) is very large for a male lingcod, with a body length of 95 cm (37 inches). He has aggressively guarded the eggs since they were laid.

As is common, the male lingcod has continued to guard the eggs after they fell to the sandy bottom.  In this case, the fish is still very active. During 10 minutes of observation he chased off the same cabezon twice and a copper rockfish once.  That level of activity is artificial as the cabezon in question was guarding his nearby nest site and eggs by attacking me and he accidentally strayed into the view of the lingcod during these attacks.

What is interesting is the large area around the eggs mass that has been swept clean of the white shell hash and algae.  I suspect is it simply the result of the busy fish patrolling and defending the nest site and resting near the eggs versus a conscious effort to clean the area.

Numerous egg masses have been dislodged from their intial sites this season, perhaps due to the frequent strong storms and associated currents and surges that we have experienced.

 

 

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