Spatial variation in reproduction, and occurrence of non‐reproductive adults, in orange roughy, Hoplostethus atlanticus Collett (Trachichthyidae), from south‐eastern Australia

J. D. Bell, J. M. Lyle, C. M. Bulman, K. J. Graham, G. M. Newton, D. C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study was designed to determine whether orange roughy reproduce throughout their distribution in Australian waters, and if so, whether commencement of spawning and length at maturity vary within the region. We found that females from four widely separated sampling areas reproduced in 1988, but that the onset of spawning and length at maturity were not the same in all the areas. In New South Wales, ovulation was finished by mid‐June, and 50% of females were mature at 28 cm standard length (S.L.). On the other hand, females from eastern and western Tasmania and South Australia did not spawn until mid‐July, and 50% of females from Tasmania were not mature until 32 cm S.L. Females from all areas had oocytes with yolk granules at least 5 months before ovulation. However, in the few months before spawning, some adult females from all areas had not undergone vitellogenesis or were resorbing all yolky oocytes. The best estimates of the proportion of these non‐reproductive females were made in March and April, when the single batch of eggs to be spawned was clearly distinguishable, and before spawning aggregations had formed. In 1990 in eastern Tasmania, at the site of a major spawning aggregation, the best estimate of the proportion of non‐reproductive fish was 45%. We suggest that scarcity of food, coupled with the cost of joining a spawning aggregation, may result in intermittent spawning in this long‐lived species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • deep‐sea
  • fish
  • histology
  • length at maturity
  • oocytes
  • orange roughy
  • reproductive cycle

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