Despite their wide distribution around the Antarctic continent, the life strategies of the long-fingered icefish Cryodraco antarcticus have been rarely investigated and are not well understood. The aim of this paper was to provide more insights on the demographic characteristics of the population living off the South Shetland Islands, focusing attention on key biological traits such as age and growth and the reproductive cycle. Individual age and reproductive status were assessed through the microstructural analyses of sagittal otoliths and histological analysis of gonads, respectively. The sex-balanced sampled population consisted of juvenile and adult fishes covering a wide size range. Both sexes had positive allometric growth, although males exhibited smaller maximum size and lower body condition than females. Fish longevity was comparable between sexes, being 16 and 18 years in males and females, respectively. Applying the von Bertalanffy growth model to length-at-age estimates, males consistently reached lower maximum asymptotic size at a faster rate than females. Based on the gametogenic process, the spawning period was inferred to occur from late summer to early autumn. As commonly found in icefishes, females devoted a great investment to reproduction as gonadosomatic index, egg size, and fecundity. A single female (62 cm TL) spawned about 7730 eggs as large as 3–4 mm. Considering also the results of previous studies conducted in other areas, this species is characterized by a long-lasting pelagic juvenile phase and adults share similar life strategies across the range of their spatial distribution, suggesting the possibility of a single panmictic circum-Antarctic population.

Biological parameters of the High-Antarctic icefish, Cryodraco antarcticus (Channichthyidae) from the South Shetland Islands

Cali F.;
2020

Abstract

Despite their wide distribution around the Antarctic continent, the life strategies of the long-fingered icefish Cryodraco antarcticus have been rarely investigated and are not well understood. The aim of this paper was to provide more insights on the demographic characteristics of the population living off the South Shetland Islands, focusing attention on key biological traits such as age and growth and the reproductive cycle. Individual age and reproductive status were assessed through the microstructural analyses of sagittal otoliths and histological analysis of gonads, respectively. The sex-balanced sampled population consisted of juvenile and adult fishes covering a wide size range. Both sexes had positive allometric growth, although males exhibited smaller maximum size and lower body condition than females. Fish longevity was comparable between sexes, being 16 and 18 years in males and females, respectively. Applying the von Bertalanffy growth model to length-at-age estimates, males consistently reached lower maximum asymptotic size at a faster rate than females. Based on the gametogenic process, the spawning period was inferred to occur from late summer to early autumn. As commonly found in icefishes, females devoted a great investment to reproduction as gonadosomatic index, egg size, and fecundity. A single female (62 cm TL) spawned about 7730 eggs as large as 3–4 mm. Considering also the results of previous studies conducted in other areas, this species is characterized by a long-lasting pelagic juvenile phase and adults share similar life strategies across the range of their spatial distribution, suggesting the possibility of a single panmictic circum-Antarctic population.
La Mesa M.; Cali F.; Riginella E.; Mazzoldi C.; Jones C.D.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/805111
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