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Coral trout spawning at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef

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Uploaded on Oct 3, 2011

Coral trout, Plectropomus leopardus, gather to spawn at dusk around the new moon in spring and early summer at Lizard Island on the northern Great Barrier Reef. Substantial research into the biology and ecology of this highly sought-after table fish has been conducted at the Australian Museum's Lizard Island Research Station.

This video was shot just before sunset on 27 September 2011 at about 6 metres depth. Males wear spawning colours - very pale with a black outline - that are quite different to their normal colouration. They shimmy up to smaller females as an invitation to join a spawning rush towards the surface.

In this video, a male shimmies at several females and chases off a rival male before making a really fast spawning rush with a female at about 1 minute into the clip. Each fish emitted a puff of spawn at the apex of the rush.

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