Istituto di Scienze Marine     
La Mesa M., Caputo V., Rampa R., Vacchi M. Macroscopic and histological analyses of gonads during the spawning season of Chionodraco hamatus (Pisces, Channichthyidae) off Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Southern Ocean. In: Polar Biology, vol. 26 (9) pp. 621 - 628. SPRINGER-VERLAG, 2003.
A macroscopic and histological analysis of gonads was carried out during the spawning season of the high-Antarctic channichthyid Chionodraco hamatus in the western Ross Sea. Samples were collected between December and February during several years in the coastal waters of Terra Nova Bay. Gonad maturity stages were described for males and females according to macroscopic and histological scales. Using multi-year data, the estimated length at first spawning of females was about 35 cm TL, very similar to that obtained indirectly for males. Similar to many other high-Antarctic fish, C. hamatus is a summer spawner. The greater part of the stock was indeed in spawning condition between December and February, although a large proportion of females large enough to spawn probably did not spawn in that season. The present data confirm that C. hamatus, as is typical for Antarctic fish, probably spawns a single batch of oocytes once a year. In addition, vitellogenesis is a slow process that extends over at least 1 year. Discrepancies between the macroscopic and histological appearance of gonads were found. These were associated mainly with spent and resting females (maturity stages 5 and 2, respectively). This study demonstrates the importance of histological analysis of gonads in order to confirm the results of the macroscopic analyses routinely carried out in studies of reproductive biology. This is of particular importance in determining size at maturity and spawning stock biomass, for assessment purposes.
DOI: 10.1007/s00300-003-0519-7
Subject Antarctic fishes
ovarian development

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