Some anguillid spawning areas are known based on collections of small larvae, but recently for the Japanese eel Anguilla japonica, adult spawners have been caught in trawls and their eggs and preleptocephali collected. The spawning area of A. japonica is located along the western side of the West Mariana Ridge, but the natural spawning behavior of this species or that of any other anguillid species has never been observed. This study reports on the first effort to observe spawning aggregations of anguillid eels that was conducted by the R/V Yokosuka using the Shinkai 6500 submersible and a Deep-Tow camera system in the A. japonica spawning area in July 2012. The submersible was deployed mostly at 200-800 m during daytime and the Deep-Tow was deployed mostly at 130-250 m during nighttime, both in multiple oblique depth tracks along linear transects. Various fishes and invertebrates were seen in the pelagic environment during day and night, but no spawning aggregations were observed. One eel was briefly recorded by a Deep-Tow camera at 20:13 on 17 July (2 days before new moon) at a depth of 179 m. The eel was recorded for <1 s as it passed in front of the camera. Its anterior body and head shape were consistent with a male A. japonica, or possibly a Derichthys serpentinus eel, but not with other mesopelagic eels. Because the tail region of the eel was not visible, species identification was not possible.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science