Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

J. Michael


The social organization and reproductive behavior of ten species of hawkfishes was studied at several Pacific localities. In addition, the zoogeography of all Indo-West Pacific cirrhitids was considered in relation to both the Indo-Malayan triangle as a center of species diversity and the isolation of the Pacific and Indian ocean basins during Quaternary events. Patterns of hawkfish distribution and species richness, reflected in high levels of endemism in both the Pacific and Indian ocean basins, support the hypothesis that the Indo-Malayan triangle is not so much a center of speciation as one of the confluence of two distinct centers of distribution. Patterns of hawkfish social organization and reproductive behavior indicated that members of the family were haremic or facultatively monogamous, depending upon habitat association and habitat size. Habitat associations included obligate coral-dwelling, non-obligate coral-dwelling or non coral-dwelling. Sexual dimorphism in body size was evident, with males being larger than females within social groups, but not always between social groups. Males maintained territories in coral heads or on the substratum. Females within male-dominated social groups maintained home areas within these territories and defended courtship sites from conspecific females in most species. Hawkfishes had sequential courtship, commencing prior to or after sunset, and spawning was pelagic. Courtship motor patterns observed included those shared by most members of the family and some which may have been species specific.