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Advances in the aquatic sciences

The effect of variability in growth on somatic condition and reproductive status in the southern calamary Sepioteuthis australis

J. D. Ho A B C , N. A. Moltschaniwskyj A and C. G. Carter B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Aquaculture, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Locked Bag 1370, Launceston, Tas 7250, Australia.

B Present address: School of Human Life Sciences, University of Tasmania, Locked Bag 1320, Launceston, Tas 7250, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Marine and Freshwater Research 55(4) 423-428
Submitted: 19 September 2003  Accepted: 19 April 2004   Published: 22 June 2004


The aim of the present study was to determine how the lifetime growth rates of adult southern calamary Sepioteuthis australis related to somatic and reproductive condition. A hierarchy of biological levels was explored: whole-animal, muscle fibre, and proximal condition. Evidence at all biological levels suggested that allocation of energy given to growth and reproduction was gender-specific. Females may not be allocating the same level of energy to somatic growth due to a greater requirement to re-allocate energy for reproductive growth. There was evidence that faster-growing males were in better somatic and reproductive condition. However, both males and females in better somatic condition were also in better reproductive condition. Fast growth rates by individuals were achieved primarily by muscle fibre growth, rather than production of new fibres. However, mantle muscle instantaneous growth rates (assessed through RNA : protein ratio) decreased as males became larger and more reproductively mature; no association was evident in females. An inverse correlation between gonad size and muscle instantaneous growth rates in females suggested energy was being directed away from somatic growth and towards reproductive growth. There was evidence that lifetime growth rates could predict the reproductive or somatic condition of adult calamary, but this was gender-specific.

Keywords: condition, growth, muscle tissue, proximal analysis, squid.


Thanks to Gretta Pecl, Colin Johnston, Mike Steer and Simon Willcox for extensive support in the field and laboratory. This project was supported by ARC Large (A09601512) and FRDC (2000/121) grants awarded to NAM.


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