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Galaxiids Smelts and Relatives: Osmeriformes

Behavior And Reproduction

Scientists do not know much about the behavior of smelts, galaxiids, and their relatives. They do know that some of these fishes migrate (MY-grayt) or move to another area to spawn and that others migrate at different stages of life. During upstream migrations, some of these fishes "climb" obstacles as high as 33 feet (10 meters) by jumping and wriggling in an eel-like manner, using their fins to lever themselves forward and upward. Two behavior patterns are likely in some deep-sea smelts, galaxiids, and relatives. First, those that live in the middle depths move to the surface at night to feed on animal plankton, or microscopic animals drifting in bodies of water. Second, some of these fishes have glowing organs thought to be used for attracting mates, attracting prey or food animals, and hiding from predators (PREH-duh-terz) or animals that might hunt and eat them.

Reproductive behavior varies greatly among smelts, galaxiids, and their relatives. Some undertake long migrations (my-GRAY-shunz) from coastal seas to surf beaches and estuaries. When they reach their destination, the fish often form massive spawning groups. The males press against females until they release their eggs. The males then release their sperm. Wave action buries the fertilized eggs below the sand. Other species move up into rivers and lakes to spawn.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesGalaxiids Smelts and Relatives: Osmeriformes - Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Ayu (plecoglossus Altivelis): Species Accounts, Australian Smelt (retropinna Semoni): Species Accounts - PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DI