|Temperature-dependent recruitment delay of the Japanese glass eel Anguilla japonica in East Asia|In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Japanese eels spawn mainly during June–August. The larvae (leptocephali) then drift for 3–5 months before metamorphosing into glass eels. The recruitment season generally starts in southern East Asia in November and in northern areas in April the following year, a lag of ~5 months. However, analysis of otolith daily growth rings revealed only a 1–2-month difference in the mean leptocephalus stage between southern and northern East Asian samples. Experiments and field observation indicate that glass eels may starve, lose body weight, and remain in early pigmentation stage for a few months in cold waters. The time lag in recruitment can be accounted for by a longer leptocephalus stage combined with a low temperature-driven delay to upstream migration in winter. The leptocephalus duration and oceanic currents determine the dispersal locations up to the glass eel phase, while temperatures determine the timing of upstream migration time at each location.