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Age structure, growth rates, movement patterns and feeding in an estuarine population of the cardinalfish Apogon rueppellii

Chrystal, P.J., Potter, I.C., Loneragan, N.R. and Holt, C.P. (1985) Age structure, growth rates, movement patterns and feeding in an estuarine population of the cardinalfish Apogon rueppellii. Marine Biology, 85 (2). pp. 185-197.

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The biology of a population of the cardinalfish Apogon rueppellii has been studied over several years (1977-1983) in the Swan Estuary in south-western Australia, using ramples collected monthly from the shallows by beach seine and from various depths by otter trawl. While the life cycle of this species typically lasts for one year, at the end of which time the mean length is 50 to 60 mm, some individuals survive for a further year and attain lengths up to 104 mm. A. rueppellii shows a marked tendency to move offshore into deeper water during the winter months. This tendency is more pronounced in the 1+ than in the 0+ year class and in larger than smaller 0+ individuals. An inshore movement of A. rueppellii in the spring is followed by spawning and by oral brooding by the males, which leads to the recruitment of large numbers of a new 0+ year class on to the banks during the summer. The offshore movement is correlated with changes in salinity and temperature. The larger catches taken by otter trawl during the day than at night indicate that A. rueppellii exhibits a diel pattern of activity. Mean fecundity ranged from 70 in the 45 to 49 mm size class to 345 in the 90 to 94 mm size class. Measurements of fecundity and the number of oral-brooded eggs demonstrated that the majority of the eggs released by the female are collected and incubated by the males. Copepods are ingested in relatively greater amounts by small than by large A. rueppellii, whereas the reverse situation occurs with larger crustaceans, polychaetes and small fish. The presence of greater amounts of copepods in the diet during the day and of amphipods at night probably reflects the diel activity patterns of the prey.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 1985 Springer-Verlag.
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