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Reproductive characteristics of three small-bodied cuttlefishes in subtropical waters
Life-history information for many commercially important cuttlefishes is lacking, and thus the effects of long-term harvest remain unknown. This study investigated the reproductive mode and seasonality of three small-bodied cuttlefishes (Sepia opipara, S. plangon and S. rozella) in subtropical eastern Australia. Monthly samples were collected over two years and examined for gonadal development, size at sexual maturity, potential fecundity, mature oocyte and spermatophore sizes, and temporal variation in maturity stages and gonadal weight with respect to seawater temperature. All species showed reproductive characteristics consistent with a terminal multiple spawning mode, with S. opipara and S. rozella likely to be intermittent batch spawners, whereas S. plangon spawn continuously. Spawning occurred year round for all species, but S. opipara and S. rozella showed greater seasonality than S. plangon, peaking in autumn–spring. The largest species, S. opipara matured at a larger size than the others, had the greatest potential fecundity (the highest documented for any cuttlefish) and largest spermatophore sizes. In contrast, S. rozella and S. plangon had much larger mature oocytes than S. opipara. These results further highlight the diversity of reproductive characteristics in cuttlefishes, and the need for species-specific information for fishery and conservation management plans.
MF17169 Accepted 23 September 2017
© CSIRO 2017