The spawning area of the common Japanese conger, Conger myriaster, had remained unknown because spawning adults or its newly hatched larvae were never collected. Using genetic identification, we determined that C. myriaster spawns far offshore in the western North Pacific, just west of the spawning area of the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica. In June 2008, six newly hatched C. myriaster larvae, 5.6-6.9 mm, were collected at the eastern edge of where many small unidentified Conger leptocephali (7-20 mm) were collected previously. The offshore spawning location of C. myriaster is analogous to that of the American conger eel, Conger oceanicus, and the American eel, Anguilla rostrata, in the Sargasso Sea, suggesting that convergent evolution of large-scale reproductive migration strategies in both anguillid and conger eels has occurred in the north Atlantic and Pacific subtropical gyres. The realization that two anguillids, A. rostrata and A. japonica, and two congers, C. oceanicus and C. myriaster, have evolved almost identical migration strategies in widely separated ocean basins suggests that natural selection for larval survival and recruitment success has resulted in long offshore spawning migrations in two phylogenetically distant taxa of anguilliform eels.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics