Information Central (c) Larry Larsen
Spawning and Post Spawning Behavior
Spawning normally takes place on a flat surface that has been cleared (or is bare to begin with) of algae or
other debris during the fanning movements of the parents. This could be on the top of a stump or the bark of a fallen tree that lies
horizontal below the surface, yet near to the depression beds. The female moves over the bed and deposits neat rows of eggs as the
male follows and exudes sperm which drifts down over each row. This effort usually takes several hours. Reports state that peacocks may lay
an average from 3,000 to 10,000 eggs, with an average being about 5,000.
The color of the eggs reportedly change from a white to a yellow as they develop. Underdeveloped eggs
accumulate a fungus and are normally removed from the bed by the parents. Ultimately, less than one percent of the eggs will hatch and
reach adulthood. The eggs, while being constantly fanned by the female, develop into larvae in about two days.
Some males periodically take part in the fanning to remove foreign materials from the eggs, but their time is
often consumed by defending against egg predators. From time to time, the male will leave the female to fend off a threatening
intruder. By the time the eggs hatch, the female exhibits very aggressive behavior toward any intrusion, while the male offers
aggressive lateral displays and circles the area.
As the eggs hatch at the spawning site, the male (and sometimes the female) takes them into his mouth and deposits the
fry in the nearby small depression beds. The larvae have a mucous-like adhesive at their head which allows them to stick to
the bottom of the nest. They wiggle their tails, making the floor of the bed resemble a writhing mass of undulating worms.
At night, the parents lower themselves over the bed to discourage nocturnal predators from attacking the
larvae. Both parents stand vigil and guard the brood which mill about their nest deriving nutrition from the remnants of their yolk sacs.
As the fry become free-swimming, which occurs about three days after the hatch, the parents herd them around the canal. The fry stick
together in a cloud near the surface of the water. They feed throughout the day on zooplankton, growing rapidly and becoming stronger.