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Relationships between the movements, growth, age structures, and reproductive biology of the teleosts Sillago burrus and S. vittata in temperate marine waters

Hyndes, G.A., Potter, I.C. and Hesp, S.A. (1996) Relationships between the movements, growth, age structures, and reproductive biology of the teleosts Sillago burrus and S. vittata in temperate marine waters. Marine Biology, 126 (3). pp. 549-558.

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Sillago burrus and S. vittata both use sheltered, nearshore shallow waters (≤ 1.5 m) as nursery areas. However, the juveniles of the former species remain there for only a few months, before migrating into deeper waters (5 to 15 m) as they increase in size, whereas some juvenile S. vittata do not undergo a similar migration until considerably later. S. burrus rarely exceeded 2 yr of age and was never found beyond 4 yr of age. Although only a small number of S. vittata exceeded 2 yr of age, a few individuals of this species were caught between 4 and 7 yr old. The maximum and asymptotic lengths of S. burrus (251 and ∼180 mm, respectively) were far lower than those of S. vittata (325 and ∼320 mm, respectively), whereas the growth coefficients (K) were much higher for the former species, i.e. ∼2.4 vs ∼0.4. Virtually all S. burrus, and also those S. vittata that moved into deeper waters early in life, spawned at the end of their first year of life. Since relatively few S. burrus reached 2 yr of age, the attainment of almost full size by the end of their first year of life enables a relatively large number of eggs to be produced by fish at the end of their first year-for many, their only spawning period. Those individuals of S. vittata that remained in their shallow nursery areas until the end of their first year of life, did not reach maturity until the end of their second year of life. The proportions of mature gonads and the numbers of yolk-vesicle and yolk-granule oocytes and post-ovulatory follicles in ovaries were far higher in both S. burrus and S. vittata during December to February than in any other month, demonstrating that these two species spawn largely in these summer months. During this period, the ovaries of individual S. burrus and S. vittata often contained post-ovulatory follicles, as well as yolkvesicle and yolk-granule oocytes that ranged widely in size, strongly suggesting that both species are multiple spawners. During the spawning period of S. burrus, the ovaries possessed large numbers of hydrated oocytes and no post-ovulatory follicles or the reverse situation, and the oocytes tended to form several relatively discrete size groups. This indicates that S. burrus produces eggs in batches and that the spawning of the members of this species is synchronised. The presence of large numbers of yolk-granule oocytes with migrating nuclei in the ovaries of many S. vittata at certain times suggests that this species is also a batch- and synchronised spawner. Comparisons between the results of the present study and past work emphasise that the relationships between the timing of offshore movements and the sizes and ages at first maturity vary considerably amongst whiting species.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
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