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Submerged spawning and larval dispersal of the mudskipper Periophthalmus variabilis

Hans-Georg Rupp

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Since the discovery of mudskipper aerial embryonic incubation in 1998 it has been unclear if spawning and fertilization take place inside an air filled or inside a water filled egg chamber, and if the parent animals help the newly hatched larvae leave the hypoxic water inside the burrow. I can confirm submerged spawning observed in video recordings of the egg chamber of a burrow of the mudskipper Periophthalmus variabilis. Initial indirect evidence was obtained by video recording water level increases within the entrances to the burrow, caused by the male's air addition into the egg chamber which displaces water there. Furthermore, single video recordings show that the male can create a strong water current, which causes water to flow out of the burrow, which could help larvae to leave the burrow.