Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Spawning area and season of butterfly kingfish (Gasterochisma melampus), a large scombrid adapted to cooler temperate southern water

Tomoyuki Itoh A C and Shiro Sawadaishi B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, 5-7-1 Orido, Shimizu, Shizuoka, Shizuoka, 424-8633, Japan.

B Marine Fisheries Research and Development Center, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, 2-3-3 Minato-mirai, Nishi, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 220-6115, Japan. [Retired].

C Corresponding author. Email: itou@fra.affrc.go.jp

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17077
Submitted: 18 March 2017  Accepted: 1 June 2017   Published online: 21 August 2017

Abstract

In the present study we investigated spawning of the butterfly kingfish (Gasterochisma melampus), a Scombridae species distributed in circumpolar temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Using data from 25 564 individuals collected by longline operations from 1987 to 1996, analysis of the gonadosomatic index, maturity based on oocyte size and the presence of hydrated eggs revealed that the spawning area was between longitude 85 and 130°W and latitude 28 and 41°S in the south-east Pacific Ocean, and that the spawning season was from mid-April to mid-July. Length–frequency data suggested that larger fish arrived and spawned earlier, whereas smaller fish did so later. The species has distinctive reproductive characteristics compared with other Scombridae: it produces large hydrated eggs 1.6 mm in diameter, sea surface temperatures in the spawning area were as low as 14–18°C and more than 80% of fish were female. The south-east Pacific Ocean may be the only (and is at least the major) spawning area of the species. Butterfly kingfish is a single stock that migrates to the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans to feed and returns to the south-east Pacific Ocean to spawn.

Additional keywords: reproductive biology.


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