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Developmental defects in pelagic embryos of several flatfish species in the southern North Sea
Cameron, P.; Berg, J.; Dethlefsen, V.; von Westernhagen, H. (1992). Developmental defects in pelagic embryos of several flatfish species in the southern North Sea. Neth. J. Sea Res. 29(1-3): 239-256
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Cameron, P.
  • Berg, J.
  • Dethlefsen, V.
  • von Westernhagen, H., more

    In the spring of 1984 through 1987 and in the summer of 1987 pelagic flatfish eggs were collected in horizontal subsurface hauls with a 1-m ring net in the southern North Sea between 51°49' to 55°30'N and 2°30' to 8°00'E. The flatfish eggs were observed alive for their developmental stage and aberrations from normal development. Flatfish eggs occurring in the winter ichthyoplankton of the southern North Sea were dab, Limanda limanda; flounder, Platichthys flesus; plaice, Pleuronectes platessa, and long rough dab, Hippoglossoides platessoides. Summer samples contained dab, turbot, Psetta maxima; little sole, Buglossidium luteum; common sole, Solea solea; Norwegian topknot, Phrynorhombus norwegicus, and lemon sole, Microstomus kitt. In winter as well as in summer eggs of dab were the most abundant in the southern North Sea with up to 249 eggs.m-3 surface water in winter and 26 eggs.m-3 in summer. The investigations revealed considerable quantities of abnormally developed flatfish embryos in the plankton samples. Highest malformation rates were recorded for the early stages of dab (44.4%) followed by flounder (41.3%) and plaice (26.0%) in winter; in summer these rates were for dab 18.9%, for turbot 14.1% and for little sole 12.5%. Generally malformation rates decreased with development. Areas of high malformation rates were off the river estuaries and in near-shore areas along the Dutch and German coasts. Malformation rates decreased with the distance from the coast. Causes and effects of the occurrence of malformations during embryonic development are discussed.

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