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Comparisons between the age structures, growth and reproductive biology of two co-occurring sillaginids, Sillago robusta and S. bassensis, in temperate coastal waters of Australia

Hyndes, G.A. and Potter, I.C. (1996) Comparisons between the age structures, growth and reproductive biology of two co-occurring sillaginids, Sillago robusta and S. bassensis, in temperate coastal waters of Australia. Journal of Fish Biology, 49 (1). pp. 14-32.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.1996.tb00002...
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Abstract

Sillago robusta and S. bassensis occupy the open sandy areas of the deeper waters (20–35 m) of the inner continental shelf of the lower west coast of Australia. Comparisons were made of their age and size compositions, growth rates, ages and sizes at first maturity, and spawning times. Most S. robusta were less than 3 years old (maximum 7 years), while S. bassensis often reached 7 years of age (maximum 10 years). The maximum length of S. robusta (200 mm) was far shorter than S. bassensis (328 mm), whereas the reverse pertained for the von Bertalanffy growth coeffcient (K), i.e. c. 1.0 v. c. 0.3. Differences in K reflect the fact that c. 80% of the asymptotic length is achieved by S. robusta after 2 years, but not until 6 years of age by S. bassensis. Sexual maturity was reached by up to 50% of S. robusta at the end of their first year of life, and by almost all fish at the end of their second year of life. Most S. bassensis did not reach maturity until the end of their third year of life. In both species, those individuals that reached maturity early, were significantly longer than those that did not reach maturity at the same age. The gonadosomatic indices and proportions of mature gonads, and the numbers of vitellogenic and hydrated oocytes and post-ovulatory follicles, were relatively high in ovaries of both species between December and March. Although both species spawn in these 4 months, some S. bassensis also spawn between September and November and in March and April. In the middle of the spawning period, the ovaries of S. robusta and S. bassensis frequently contained oocytes that ranged widely in size and development, together with post-ovulatory follicles, suggesting that both species are multiple spawners. Juveniles of S. robusta remain in the deeper waters of the inner continental shelf, whereas those of S. bassensis migrate inshore to their nursery areas in surf zones. As S. robusta reaches sexual maturity at an earlier age and smaller size than S. bassensis, it is probably more advantageous for the juveniles of this species to remain in deeper water, and thereby conserve energy for gonadal maturation, rather than migrating into shallow waters for only a very few months.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/18646
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