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A zebra mbuna (Maylandia zebra) mouthbrooding
The Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) is a mouthbrooder that carries embryos and tadpoles in its vocal sac until they metamorphose into frogs

From mouth +‎ brooder.



mouthbrooder (plural mouthbrooders)

  1. (zoology) Any animal that cares for its offspring, either eggs or juveniles, by holding them in its mouth for extended periods of time.
    Synonym: mouthbreeder
    • 1918, E. W. Gudger, “Oral Gestation in the Gaff-Topsail Catfish, Felichthys felis”, in Papers from the Department of Marine Biology of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, volume XII, number III, Washington, D.C.: Published by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, OCLC 1026629544, page 33:
      However, [Franz] Steindachner (1875), in describing Arius planiceps, a catfish from Panama, found that at the breeding season the innermost edges of the ventral fins of the female are developed so as to form a kind of pocket. He conjectured that the eggs are extruded into this, fertilized by the male, and then taken into his mouth. He found a similar structure on the female of A. kessleri, the male of which is also a mouth brooder.
    • 1976, Peter B. Moyle, “Cichlid Family, Cichlidae”, in Inland Fishes of California, Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.; London: University of California Press, →ISBN, page 330:
      Mozambique mouthbrooders are native to coastal streams of southeast Africa, especially the Zambesi River, Mozambique.
    • 1982, J-Cl. Philippart; J-Cl. Ruwet, “Ecology and Distribution of Tilapias”, in R[oger] S. V. Pullin and R[osemary] H[elen] Lowe-McConnell, editors, The Biology and Culture of Tilapias: Proceedings of the International Conference on the Biology and Culture of Tilapias, 2–5 September 1980 [], Makati, Philippines: International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management, →ISBN, ISSN 0115-4389, session 1 (Biology), page 48:
      In almost all mouthbrooders, guarding the young is undertaken by the female (uniparental maternal family) though the male may participate exceptionally, notably in S. mossambicus [...] In S. galilaeus [...] and S. multifasciatus [...] the two sexes form a stable couple and both practice mouthbrooding. This seems, therefore, to be an intermediate stage between the biparental family of substrate-spawners and the uniparental family of mouthbrooders [...].
    • 1991, E[ugene] K[ornel] Balon, “Probable Evolution of the Coelacanths Reproductive Style: Lecithotrophy and Orally Feeding Embryos in Cichlid Fishes and in Latimeria chalumnae”, in John A. Musick, Michael N. Bruton, and Eugene K. Balon, editors, The Biology of Latimeria chalumnae and Evolution of Coelacanths: [] (Developments in Environmental Biology of Fishes; 12), Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media, DOI:10.1007/978-94-011-3194-0, →ISBN, pages 252–253:
      The very small Tanganicodus irsacae is a typical biparental mouthbrooder that collects eggs immediately upon deposition and retains them in the buccal cavity for about 14 days at which time fully formed young 11mm long are released and begin oral feeding.
    • 1991, M[iles] H. A. Keenleyside, “Parental Care”, in Miles H. A. Keenleyside, editor, Cichlid Fishes: Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution (Fish and Fisheries Series; 2), London; New York, N.Y.: Chapman & Hall, →ISBN, page 205:
      [A]lmost all mouthbrooding species are found in Africa, and many are restricted to one of the African Great Lakes. Among the few exceptions are Sarotherodon melanotheron, a paternal mouthbrooder which is widely distributed in West African rivers and estuaries, and S. galilaeus, a biparental mouthbrooder with an even broader distribution across North-central Africa [...].
    • 2000, Yvonne Sadovy; Andrew S. Cornish, “Cardinalfishes: Apogonidae”, in Reef Fishes of Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, →ISBN, page 93:
      The cardinalfishes are interesting in their reproductive biology. They are mouthbrooders, in that the eggs are held, usually in the mouth of the male, until hatching; this is one of the only marine fish families to reproduce in this way.

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