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The biology of the Atherinids caught in the Swan-Avon river system

Prince, Jeremy Duncan (1979) The biology of the Atherinids caught in the Swan-Avon river system. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The ecology and taxonomy of the atherinids caught in the Swan-Avon River system was studied using data collected from monthly samples at ten main and some subsidiary sites. The study demonstrated that five species of atherinids from the three genera Allanetta, Atherinosoma and Pranesus utilise the estuary in different ways. One of the Atherinosoma species folllld in the estuary is currently unrecognised although it may previously have been described as Atherinosoma_ rockinghamensis (Whitley). The other species found in the river system are Atherinosoma elongata (Klunzinger), Atherinosoma presbyteroides (Richardson), Allanetta mugiloides (McCulloch) and Pranesus ogilbyi (Whitley). All the atherinid species spawned during the summer and in three Atherinosoma species and in Allanetta mugiloides the spawning period was protracted. The life cycle of these four species occupied one year. By contrast, in Pranesus ogilbyi the life cycle was either two or three years, with spawning occurring in the final two years of life. Although all of the species were opportunistic carnivores which fed in general on small invertebrates this study indicated that interspecific competition was reduced by a certain degree of selective feeding and by a tendency for slightly different distribution patterns. Pranesus ogilbyi, Allanetta mugiloides and Atherinosoma presbyteroides were marine species, while Atherinosoma elongata was estuarine and Atherinosoma rockinghamensis was largely restricted to fresh water. The feeding and breeding habits and pelagicnature as well as their large numbers in every part of the river system, mean that atherinids must be a very important component of the fauna of the estuary.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
United Nations SDGs: Goal 14: Life Below Water
Supervisor(s): Potter, Ian
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