Istituto di Scienze Marine     
La Mesa M. The utility of otolith microstructure in determining the timing and position of the first annulus in juvenile Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) from the South Shetland Islands. In: Polar Biology, vol. 30 (10) pp. 1219 - 1226. SPRINGER, 2007.
Juvenile Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) collected off the South Shetland Islands (CCAMLR Subarea 48.1) were aged by counting the presumed daily increments in the sagittal otoliths. The timing and position of the first annulus was examined for each individual fish from 10 to 13 cm TL. Under reflected light at low magnification, the otolith sections exhibited a wide opaque nucleus, with no evidence of deposition of the first translucent zone. The average measurement of ventral and dorsal radii of these sections were, respectively, 603 and 768 mu m, consistently less than the measurements done in previously estimated 1 year old fish caught in the same area. All specimens aged in the present study were approximately 1 year old fish, with an age range between 365 and 431 days, suggesting a significant underestimation of age in the previous studies. The value of ageing precision indices calculated was relatively low, supporting the reliability of the reading technique applied. Two checks were easily identified in the core of all otolith sections, interpreted tentatively as hatching and first exogenous feeding checks. Back-calculating from the time of capture, the hatching period of D. mawsoni was estimated to occur throughout the summer season, from November to February. In conclusion, the delay in timing of deposition of the first translucent zone, which occurs in the second winter from hatching, should be taken into account in future studies on ageing Antarctic toothfish, as well as in the stock assessment models based on length at age data.
DOI: 10.1007/s00300-007-0281-3
Subject juvenile antarctic toothfish
daily increments

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