Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Reproductive characteristics of three small-bodied cuttlefish in subtropical waters

Amanda L. Beasley A B E , Karina C. Hall A B C , Coral I. Latella A , Peter L. Harrison B , Stephen G. Morris D and Anna Scott A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Marine Science Centre, School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, PO Box 4321, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia.

B Marine Ecology Research Centre, School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.

C New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, National Marine Science Centre, PO Box 4321, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia.

D New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute, 1243 Bruxner Highway, Wollongbar, NSW 2477, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: a.beasley.10@student.scu.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17169
Submitted: 6 June 2017  Accepted: 23 September 2017   Published online: 15 December 2017

Abstract

Life history information for many commercially important cuttlefish is lacking, and thus the effects of long-term harvest remain unknown. The present study investigated the reproductive mode and seasonality of three small-bodied cuttlefish (Sepia opipara, S. plangon and S. rozella) in subtropical eastern Australia. Monthly samples were collected over 2 years and examined for gonadal development, size at sexual maturity, potential fecundity, size of mature oocytes and spermatophores, and temporal variation in maturity stages and gonadal weight relative 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 spawned 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 biggest species, S. opipara, matured at a larger size than the others, had the greatest potential fecundity (the highest documented for any cuttlefish) and the 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 cuttlefish, and the need for species-specific information for fishery and conservation management plans.

Additional keywords: Cephalopoda, life history, reproduction, reproductive strategy, size at maturity, spawning season.


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