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Session 1, Abstract 1

EGG SIZE DETERMINES FRY SIZE IN SUBSTRATE-SPAWNING CICHLID FISHES

Haya Akkad* and David Bui* (Ronald Coleman), CSU Sacramento

The family Cichlidae contains many diverse species and the size of eggs varies immensely across species. Previous studies on Neotropical Cichlid have shown that the size of an egg determines the size of the wriggler hatched. However, there has been no research to show the relationship between the size of the egg and the subsequent fry. This is significant as the size of a fry plays a crucial role in the survivability and further development of the fish. This experiment was conducted by encouraging selected species to breed in separate freshwater aquariums. A sample of eggs, hatchlings, and fry within in the same clutch were collected and preserved. These specimens were later measured under a dissection microscope with an ocular micrometer. Many species of cichlids lay eggs that are prolate spheroids rather than spheres so the eggs were measured by their major and minor axes to calculate their effective diameter, while the fry were measured for their total length. This experiment has revealed that there is a strong positive relationship between the size of eggs of substrate spawning cichlids and their fry in nine species across seven genera collected so far.