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Maturation and reproductive seasonality in bonefish, Albula vulpe, from the waters of the Florida Keys
Crabtree, R.E.; Snodgrass, D.; Harnden, C.W. (1997). Maturation and reproductive seasonality in bonefish, Albula vulpe, from the waters of the Florida Keys. Fish. Bull. 95(3): 456-465
In: Fishery Bulletin. US Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.. ISSN 0090-0656, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Fecundity; Reproduction; Seasonality; Sexual maturity; Spawning seasons; Albula vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Crabtree, R.E.
  • Snodgrass, D.
  • Harnden, C.W.

Abstract
    We examined 528 bonefish to estimate length and age at sexual maturity and to describe seasonal patterns in gonadal development. These fish ranged from 21 to 702 mm fork length (FL) and were collected in south Florida waters from 1989 to 1995. Gonads of 437 bonefish were examined histologically, and gonadosomatic indices (GSI) were calculated for 449 bonefish. Male bonefish reached 50% sexual maturity (the predicted size and age at which half the individuals are expected to be sexually mature) at 418 mm FL (95% confidence interval 393-443 mm) and an age of 3.6 years (95% confidence interval 3.3-3.9 years). Females reached 50% sexual maturity at 488 mm FL (95% confidence interval 472-504 mm) and 4.2 years (95% confidence interval 3.9-4.6 years). Lengths and ages at 50% maturity for males and females were significantly different. The smallest sexually mature male was 425 mm FL, and the smallest sexually mature female was 358 mm FL. The youngest sexually mature male was 3 years old, and the youngest sexually mature female was 2 years old. Gonadal activity was seasonal and peaked during November-May. Vitellogenic oocytes were present in ovaries in every month except August and September and were most abundant during November-May. Median GSI's were greatest during November-May and least during July-September for both males and females. No fully hydrated ovaries or postovulatory follicles were found, therefore we could not estimate spawning periodicity or batch fecundities. Total fecundity ranged from 0.4 to 1.7 million oocytes and had a significant positive relation to fish weight. The absence of fully hydrated ovaries and postovulatory follicles in the bonefish we sampled suggests that bonefish spawn outside the traditional shallow-water (<2 m) fishing grounds in the Florida Keys.

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