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The Serranus Tortugarum, The Most Romantic Caribbean Fish

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and although the Serranus tortugarum may not know it, it is probably the most romantic and passionate fish there is. Let’s know a little more about it!

Native to the Caribbean, the Serranus tortugarum reaches 3 in. / 7.6 cm. long, and its habitat is in coral reefs.


The Serranus Tortugarum And Its … “I Will Love You Forever”

Yes, Yes. We already know that we are talking about evolutionary strategies to ensure permanence, but the Serranus tortugarum reproductive strategy is, at least, surprising. In the animal world, monogamy is totally abnormal. Let us clarify that a species is monogamous when there is a mating relationship between two specimens, and it lasts throughout its life. It happens with the Serranus tortugarum.

The pale serranid, our little friend also has that name, lives in large social groups. We could understand, they have a lot of opportunities to switch partners. What a surprise for Mary Hart, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Florida, when she discovered that it is a faithful fish!

For six months, Harts and her team did numerous dives to study the Serranus tortugarum in its habitat, and they discovered that each pair remains together until one of them dies. But the surprises did not stop there.

Serranus tortugarum

The Serranus Tortugarum Is Hermaphroditic

Hermaphroditism is the presence of both male and female reproductive organs. A specimen of Serranus tortugarum can change from being a female to being a male and vice-versa, up to 20 times PER DAY. However, a single minnow is not self-fertilizing. it needs its mate.

The Serranus tortugarum uses a reproduction strategy known as “egg exchange” that they fertilize by parceling.

  1. They spawn in plots, and they alternating sexual roles. The number of eggs produced by the other half of the couple is something to control. If one of them produces insufficient eggs, the partner will do more.
  2. The partner fertilizes the eggs of the other.

The most unusual thing about Serranus tortugarum is not that it is faithful, nor it is hermaphrodite. The most amazing thing is they combine two extraordinary reproductive strategies in the natural world.

Do you want to know more about the Serranus tortugarum? We propose two options.

a) You can read the scientific article published in the journal Behavioral Ecology.

b) Come, and immerse yourself in the Caribbean with Dressel Divers. You can see the Serranus tortugarum with your own eyes.