Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
To test the hypothesis that the Japanese eel, Anguillu japonica, elvers in the eastern and western coasts of Taiwan are recruited from two different spawning grounds and to increase the knowledge of the early life history of the eel, the otolith microstructure and daily age of elvers collected from five estuaries in the coast of Taiwan during December 1989 through February 1990 were examined by scanning electron microscopy. The total length of elvers at arrival in the estuaries was similar among estuaries, averaging c. 56.0 mm and showed a seasonal decrease. The maximum radius of the sagittal otolith of elvers ranged from 124.46 to 181.82μm with a mean of 143.15 ± 12.72 μm. The otolith from centre to edge included an organic-rich primordium (9.20 ± 2.02 μm in diameter), a diffusively calcified core (20.94 ± 1.99 μm), and the daily growth increments; these three layers were probably deposited during the embryonic, yolk sac and feeding period respectively. The growth rate of the otolith was higher at the beginning of early life (0.5−1.0 μm day −1), lowest at approximately 100-days old (〈0.5 μm day−1), and highest 1 month before arrival at the estuary (〉 1.0 pm day−1). The mean age for elvers arriving in the estuaries of the coasts of Taiwan was approximately 170.4 ± 21.02 days. Neither the growth pattern of the otolith nor the age of elvers arriving in the estuary were significantly different among estuaries, indicating that the elvers in both eastern and western Taiwan were probably recruited from the same spawning ground. The growth pattern of the otolith in relation to larval migration was analysed.
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