Spawning pattern and type of fecundity in relation to ovarian allometry in the round herring Etrumeus teres

  • Plaza G
  • Sakaji H
  • Honda H
 et al. 
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Abstract

Spawning pattern (assessed by seasonal changes in ovarian developmental stages) and type of fecundity (assessed by analysis of oocyte-size frequency distributions) of the round herring Etrumeus teres were studied in relation to ovarian growth and seasonal changes in the gonadosomatic (GSI), hepatosomatic (HSI) and liposomatic (LSI) index as well as the somatic condition of spawners (CS) in a spawning ground of southern Japan. Except for summer, mature and recently spawned ovaries occurred all year round. Oogonia and primary oocytes were present in all ovaries, and cortical alveoli stage (CA) oocytes occurred in all mature, hydrated and partially spent (PS) females (PS: females containing post-ovulatory follicles). Before hydration, a clutch of larger yolked oocytes, undergoing synchronous growth (range 0.7-1.1 mm), was present in mature ovaries which was completely separated from a more heterogeneous clutch of oogonia, primary and secondary oocytes (< 0.150 mm) and oocytes in the CA stage (range 0.15-0.60 mm). As vitellogenesis progressed, the yolked clutch increased in size but the CA oocytes remained arrested. The latter entered into the secondary growth phase when hydration started in the advanced batch. Ovarian growth was isometric in all developmental stages, validating the use of GSI, which showed a consistent monthly evolution among years. Spawning stopped in summer (July and August) and peaked in winter and spring. HSI correlated positively with GSI on both a monthly mean basis (r = 0.76) and individual fish basis (liver weight explained 67-83% of the variability in ovary weight when females were grouped into 1-unit GSI intervals) suggesting a significant role of liver in vitellogenesis. LSI and CS also showed marked seasonal changes peaking from summer to middle autumn. Overall results suggest that E. teres is a multiple spawner with a group-synchronous ovarian development and indeterminate annual fecundity, with the three processes linked to an isometric growth of the ovary. We propose that such a reproductive pattern is an adaptation to produce batches of large pelagic eggs through a protracted spawning season.

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Authors

  • Guido Plaza

  • Hideo Sakaji

  • Hitoshi Honda

  • Yuichi Hirota

  • Kazuya Nashida

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