Synchronized spawning of Anguilla japonica inferred from daily otolith increments in leptocephali

Katsumi Tsukamoto, Tae Won Lee, Noritaka Mochioka

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The exact timing of Anguilla japonica spawning was determined from analyses of daily otolith increments in leptocephali collected near a spawning area west of the Mariana Islands on July 1-18, 1991. The birth dates of the 54 leptocephali examined (10.2 to 30.5 mm in total length) ranged from May 22 to June 24, 1991, the individuals clearly comprising two age groups, May-born fish (mode May 28) and June-born fish (mode June 21). The data showed that A. japonica spawns intermittently during the spawning season, with fixed synchronized timing. Each group of leptocephali collected along three different north-south transects (131°, 134° and 137°E between 10° and 22°N) comprised both May-born and June-born fish. The latter were dominant along the easternmost and middle transects, whereas the May-born fish were more abundant along the westernmost transect. The modal ages of the June-born and May-born fish collected along 137°E on July 1-3 were 13 d and 35 d respectively, while those of the two age groups collected along 134°E on July 17 and 18 were 28 d and 50 d, respectively. These data show that the interval between the sampling dates for the two transects (ca. 15 d) corresponded closely to the differences in modal ages of specimens from the two transects (15 d) for both the May-and June-born fish, and further, that the difference in modal age between the two age groups (22 d) was the same at both transects. A similar correspondence in total length was also observed between the two age groups at the above two transects. The findings clearly demonstrated parallel westward transport by the North Equatorial Current for both the May-and June-born eel leptocephali, which originated from a spawning area estimated as being between 141° and 143°E.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalIchthyological Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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