Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Posts tagged ‘animal behaviour’

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.

Male kelp greenling. Normal colouration. ©2013 Jackie Hildering

Male kelp greenling. Normal colouration. ©Jackie Hildering

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.

Courting male on left (note how much lighter the body is than the head); female on the right. © 2013 Jackie Hildering

Courting male on left (note how much lighter the body is than the head); female on the right. ©Jackie Hildering

My 1.5 minute video below shows the courtship behaviour. After that there is a photo of eyed kelp greenling eggs.

Kelp greenling eggs in a giant barnacle shell. See the eyes?! © 2013 Jackie Hildering

Kelp greenling eggs in a giant barnacle shell. See the eyes?! ©Jackie Hildering