1063-0740/01/2705- $25.00 © 2001
Russian Journal of Marine Biology, Vol. 27, No. 5, 2001, pp. 329–332.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2001 by Biologiya Morya, Panchenko.
Species of the genus
in the northwestern Paciﬁc Ocean  and play a signif-
icant role in the benthic communities . Snowy
sculpin occurs in the upper subtidal zone, usually to
depths of about 60 m [8, 10, 11]. Many aspects of the
biology of snowy sculpin have been poorly studied.
Some traits of the reproduction of this species have
been addressed by Paraketsov ; however, a number
of conclusions of this author seem to be quite contro-
versial. This report deals with the time and ecology of
spawning, spawning sites, and fecundity of snowy
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Underwater observations at spawning sites of
snowy sculpin were performed in March–early April
and in November 1999 and 2000 in two localities of
Peter the Great Bay: Vostok Bay and Amurskii Bay.
During dives, observations were made of the behavior
of spawners; egg layings were examined and collected
for measuring and determination of the number of eggs.
In all, 6 egg layings were sampled, and 7 spawning ﬁsh
were caught. For the study of fecundity, material was
collected with a net (mesh size 40 to 55 mm) in Novem-
ber and December in the years 1997–1999. Forty-eight
ovaries at maturity stages IV and IV–V were ﬁxed with
4% formaldehyde. The maturity stages were deter-
mined, and the material was processed using tech-
niques given in the works of Sakun and Butsky  and
Ivankov [5, 6]. The relative fecundity was calculated as
the ratio of egg number to body mass (excluding vis-
cera) . Eggs were measured using an MBS-10 stere-
omicroscope. The total ﬁsh length was measured; age
was determined from the otoliths. Statistical analysis
was performed according to the generally accepted pro-
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
By the character of spawning, sculpins are polycy-
clic ﬁshes. They spawn once during the spawning sea-
son, as is demonstrated by the presence in the ovaries
of one portion of oocytes of an older generation and
reserve oocytes, and exhibit sexual dimorphism: males
are smaller and mature earlier than females . In
Peter the Great Bay, snowy sculpin in Peter the Great
Bay reaches sexual maturity in the third–fourth year of
life, the greater part of males in the third and females in
the fourth year . Maturing oocytes of males are 22–
24 cm in length, of females, 26–28 cm.
Spawning of snowy sculpin in the investigated area
begins in late November at a near-shore water temper-
ature of 3
C and probably continues for 1.5 to 2
months, as is the case for other species of this genus,
sculpins [18, 19]. Paraketsov 
reported that spawning of snowy sculpin in Peter the
Great Bay occurs between April and September. Our
observations show that in the indicated period gametes
of this species are, as a rule, at maturity stage III.
Egg layings of snowy sculpin were found at depths
of 4 to 7 m. In Vostok Bay, three egg layings were found
on a rocky substrate in a crevice between boulders at 6–
7 m depth. In Amurskii Bay, three egg layings were
encountered at 4–5 m depth on silty sand with shell
remains and stones covered by small mussels and
plants. The ﬁrst egg laying was at the top of a stone in
a small recess; the second was on the side of a stone.
Both egg layings were oval-shaped. The third egg lay-
ing was found on the bottom attached by its lateral side
to a stone.
All the investigated egg layings in Vostok Bay and
Amurskii Bay had a small depression in the center.
Each egg laying was guarded by a male of 25.1 to
27.7 cm long, which was in the depression or nearby.
Reproduction of Snowy Sculpin
(Cottidae) in Peter the Great Bay, Sea of Japan
V. V. Panchenko
Institute of Marine Biology, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, 690041 Russia
Received February 26, 2001
—Spawning of snowy sculpin in Peter the Great Bay begins in November and takes place at a depth
of about 4–7 m. Males of this sculpin species guard their laid eggs. Larvae hatch in April. Final fecundity is
attained at ovary maturity stages IV–V.
Snowy sculpin, reproduction, spawning, egg layings.