This study examines the full repertoire of haddock reproductive behaviour, monitored in an aquarium for 3 months over each of two successive spawning seasons. Observations showed that male haddock were territorial and that visits to their territories by females triggered courtship behaviour, leading to spawning. Entry of females to the territories was induced by an acoustic and visual self-advertisement of displaying males, termed patrolling behaviour, exhibited for many hours each night for several months. The existence of sneaking behaviour by non-territorial males was observed for the first time for haddock and was supported by genetic data. Overall our observations are consistent with the behaviour expected from lekking species, as in the cod, a closely related species. Lekking is said to occur when non–resource-based aggregations of males are visited by females for the purpose of mating. Implications for the management of fish stocks are discussed.
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