Meeting Abstract

S2-1.1  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Twenty-four years in the mud: what have we learned about the natural history and ecology of Kryptolebias marmoratus? TAYLOR, D. Scott; Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program scott.taylor@brevardparks.com

Although first described in 1880, K. marmoratus avoided scientific scrutiny until 1961, when it was identified as the only known selfing hermaphroditic vertebrate. The subsequent intense interest in the fish as a lab animal, continuing to this day, might explain the paucity of wild collections, but our collective knowledge now suggests that the inherent difficulty of wild collection is more a matter of ‘looking in all the wrong places.’ Long thought to be rare in the mangal, and it can be in certain human-impacted habitats, K. marmoratus can be quite abundant, but in microhabitats not typically targeted by ichthyologists: ephemeral pools high on the swamp elevation profile and fossorial or even terrestrial haunts. Field studies of this enigmatic fish have revealed almost amphibious behaviors allowing emersion and survival during dry-down, tolerances to both high and low temperature, high levels of hydrogen sulfide and depleted DO, a catholic diet and a geographically variable sex life. A clearer picture is emerging of adult life, but juvenile habitat and adult oviposition sites remain unknown.