Kelp Greenling Colour and Courtship
While diving this morning, I came across a kelp greenling couple while they were courting (Hexagrammos decagrammus to 60 cm).
In addition to being fascinated by the courtship behaviour, I was struck by the intense colouration, especially of the courting male.
Mature male and female kelp greenlings look very different but I had never fully realized how the males’ gender specific colour intensifies during courtship.
Their bodies become much paler while the heads remain dark blue.
My 1.5 minute video below shows the courtship behaviour. After that there is a photo of eyed kelp greenling eggs.
5 Responses to “Kelp Greenling Colour and Courtship”
I LOVE this. My brief diving expereince years ago gave me a glimpse into the magical underwater world and I am so grateful to ahve this opportunity to once again ‘see’ the beauty.
Kelp greenlings are now my favourite fish!
Beautiful pictures! I think, though, that you may be misinterpreting the male greenling’s courtship color change a bit. At the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles, WA we have a male that has been courting off and on for about a week now. His normal color is very similar to the one shown in the second picture of your slideshow. When he’s actively displaying for his girlfriend his head stays the same color as always but his body turns a paler shade of blue (very similar to the animal in your video). Your description seemed to imply that the head gets brighter but our observation is that the body color sort of fades. Another interesting point is the speed of the change. Our greenling will change from normal to courtship colors in a minute or less and he routinely changes back and forth according to whether the female is present in ‘his’ part of the tank. BTW: The pair has produced one small cluster of eggs (the female is smallish and may have just reached maturity.
Keep up the good work!
Slide show commentary updated on January 22, 2012 in light of the valued feedback from Alex Hirsekorn above.
One of my favourite species…and now that I’ve seen their courting behaviour, I appreciate them even more.
Really value you letting me know!