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The biology of the catfish Cnidoglanis macrocephalus (Plotosidae) in an Australian estuary

Nel, S.A., Potter, I.C. and Loneragan, N.R. (1985) The biology of the catfish Cnidoglanis macrocephalus (Plotosidae) in an Australian estuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 21 (6). pp. 895-909.

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This paper describes the age structure, growth, diet and aspects of gonadal development in the cobbler, Cnidoglanis macrocephalus (Valenciennes), in the large Swan estuary in south-western Australia between August 1982 and June 1984. Analysis of otolith annuli showed that while the 0+ to 3+ age classes were regularly represented in monthly samples, the 4+ and more particularly the 5+ and 6+ were much less abundant. The weighted means for the back calculated lengths at the end of the first to fourth years of life were 181 mm (≡ 26 g), 314 mm (≡ 156 g), 418 mm (≡ 410 g) and 518 mm (≡ 833 g) respectively. The mean length at the end of the second year of life was similar to the minimum legal size for capture by commercial fishermen (320 mm). The von Bertlanffy growth curve calculated from the back calculated lengths was Lt = 917 [1 − e−0·20(t + 0·11)]. The relative weight of mulluscs, crustaceans and polychaetes in the intestine varied markedly between small and large fish, apparently reflecting differences in the size of these prey. The large mean diameter of mature eggs () was correlated with a low mean absolute fecundity (2078). Trends shown by egg size, gonadosomatic index and time of appearance of spent females indicate that spawning takes place between October and December. The attainment of sexual maturity is both age- and size-dependent. Although sexually maturing and occasionally spent fish were found in the lower estuary, meristic values, commercial catch statistics and other data indicate that the cobbler found in the Swan estuary are part of a population which typically spawns at sea.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Publisher: Academic Press
Copyright: © 1985 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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