Register      Login
Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

The in situ relationships between season of hatching, growth and condition in the southern calamary, Sepioteuthis australis

Gretta Pecl
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia.

B Present address: Marine Research Laboratories, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Private bag 49, Tasmania 7001, Australia.

C Email:

Marine and Freshwater Research 55(4) 429-438
Submitted: 24 September 2003  Accepted: 23 March 2004   Published: 22 June 2004


This paper examines seasonal patterns in growth and condition of Sepioteuthis australis from temperate waters of Tasmania, Australia. Growth was described by a power function and was fast for a temperate species, with an average rate over the lifetime of 4–5% BW day–1. Sepioteuthis australis is an annual species, however spawning and hatching of juveniles appears to occur all year round. Analysis of individual juvenile growth demonstrated a correlation between seasonally increasing temperatures and progressively faster growth. Season of hatching also had a clear effect on adult growth; summer-hatched individuals were larger at 170–190 days of age compared with winter-hatched individuals (1002 ± 98 g and 632 ± 27 g respectively). The length–mantle weight relationship of adults was also dependent on season of hatching, with individuals hatched in summer and spring having heavier mantles at a given length than those hatched in winter or autumn. Differential rates of growth or varying levels of condition, or perhaps both, may affect the survivorship of individuals. Growth, condition and potentially lifespan of S. australis are dependent on environmental factors, with the dynamic nature of oceanographical conditions on the east coast of Tasmania resulting in a highly variable and fluctuating population structure.

Extra keywords: environment, growth plasticity, life-history, population structure, temperature.


This work was supported by a grant from Marine Research Laboratories (MRL), Tasmania, a James Cook University (JCU) Merit Research Grant (George Jackson and GP), and a JCU Collaborative Grant (GJ and GP). Thank you to J. Semmens, A. Jordan, R. Thomas, R. Green, S. Riley, C. Jackson and particularly N. Moltschaniwskyj for assistance at various stages of this project. G. Jackson aged some of the individuals and provided assistance in the field. Debbie Gardner and Alan Beech from MRL, Tasmania provided the known-age cultured individuals. Thank you to Tasmanian squid fishers for their extensive cooperation: D. Rosenthal, A. Hallam, T. Francis, J. McGee, S. Masters and B. Smedley. Anonymous reviewers provided constructive criticism that substantially improved the final manuscript. This research was conducted while the author was at JCU, supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award from the Commonwealth Government of Australia.


Alford, R. A. , and Jackson, G. D. (1993). Do cephalopods and larvae of other taxa grow asymptotically? The American Naturalist 141, 717–728.

Arkhipkin, A. , and Laptikhovsky, V. (1994). Seasonal and interannual variability in growth and maturation of winter-spawning Illex argentinus (Cephalopoda: Ommastrephidae) in the Southwest Atlantic. Aquatic Living Resources 7, 221–232.

Arkhipkin, A. , Jereb, P. , and Ragonese, S. (2000). Growth and maturation in two successive seasonal groups of the short-finned squid, Illex coindetii from the Strait of Sicily (central Mediterranean).  ICES Journal of Marine Science 57, 31–41.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Bigelow, K. A. (1994). Age and growth of the oceanic squid Onychoteuthis borealijaponica.  Fishery Bulletin 92, 13–25.

Boyle, P. R. (1990). Cephalopod biology in the fisheries context. Fisheries Research 8, 303–321.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Boyle, P. R. , Pierce, G. J. , and Hastie, L. C. (1995). Flexible reproductive strategies in the squid Loligo forbesi.  Marine Biology 121, 501–508.

Brodziak, J. K. T. , and Macy, W. K. (1996). Growth of long-finned squid, Loligo pealei, in the northwest Atlantic. Fishery Bulletin 94, 212–236.

Calow, P. (1987). Fact and theory – an overview. In ‘Cephalopod Life Cycles. Vol. II. Comparative Reviews’. (Ed P. R. Boyle)  pp. 351–366. (Academic Press: New York, USA.)

Dawe, E. G. (1988). Length–weight relationships for short-finned squid in Newfoundland and the effect of diet on condition and growth. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 117, 591–599.

Dawe, E. G. , and Beck, P. C. (1997). Population structure, growth, and sexual maturation of short-finned squid (Illex illecebrosus) at Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54, 137–146.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Forsythe, J. W. (1993). A working hypothesis of how seasonal temperature change may impact the field growth of young cephalopods. In ‘Recent Advances in Cephalopod Fisheries Biology’. (Eds. T. Okutani, R. K. O’Dor and T. Kubodera)  pp. 133–143. (Tokai University Press: Tokyo, Japan.)

Forsythe, J. W. (2004). Accounting for the effect of temperature on squid growth in nature: from hypothesis to practice. Marine and Freshwater Research 55, 331–339.

Forsythe, J. W. , and Hanlon, R. T. (1988). Effect of temperature on laboratory growth, reproduction and life span of Octopus bimaculoides.  Marine Biology 98, 369–379.

Forsythe, J. W. , and Hanlon, R. T. (1989). Growth of the Eastern Atlantic squid, Loligo forbesi Streenstrup (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Aquaculture and Fisheries Management 20, 1–14.

Forsythe, J. W. and  Van Heukelem, W. F. (1987). Growth. In ‘Cephalopod Life Cycles. Vol. II. Comparative Reviews’. (Ed P. R. Boyle)  pp. 135–156. (Academic Press: London, UK.)

Forsythe, J. W. , Walsh, L. S. , Turk, P. E. , and Lee, P. G. (2001). Impact of temperature on juvenile growth and age at first egg-laying of the Pacific reef squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana reared in captivity.  Marine Biology 138, 103–112.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Fortier, L. , and Quiñonez-Velazquez, C. (1998). Dependence of survival on growth in larval pollock Pollachius virens and haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus: a field study based on individual hatch dates. Marine Ecology Progress Series 174, 1–12.

González, A. F. , Castro, B. G. , and Guerra, A. (1996). Age and growth of the short-finned squid Illex coindetii in Galician waters (NW Spain) based on statolith analysis. ICES Journal of Marine Science 53, 802–810.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

González, A. F. , Dawe, E. G. , Beck, P. C. , and Perez, J. A. A. (2000). Bias associated with statolith-based methodologies for ageing squid; a comparative study on Illex illecebrosus (Cephalopoda: Ommastrephidae). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 244, 161–180.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Grist, E. P. M. , and des Clers, S. (1999). Seasonal and genotypic influences on life cycle synchronisation: further insights from annual squid. Ecological Modelling 115, 149–163.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Guerra, A. , and Rocha, F. (1994). The life history of Loligo vulgaris and Loligo forbesi (Cephalopoda: Loliginidae) in Galician waters (NW Spain). Fisheries Research 21, 43–69.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Hanlon, R. T., and  Messenger, J. B. (1996). ‘Cephalopod Behaviour’. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.)

Harris, G. , Nilsson, C. , Clementson, L. , and Thomas, D. (1987). The water masses of the east coast of Tasmania: Seasonal and interannual variability and the influence on phytoplankton biomass and productivity. Marine and Freshwater Research 38, 569–590.

Hatfield, E. , Hanlon, R. , Forsythe, J. , and Grist, E. (2001). Laboratory testing of a growth hypothesis for juvenile squid Loligo pealeii (Cephalopoda: Loliginidae). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 58, 845–857.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Jackson, G. D. (1990). The use of tetracycline staining techniques to determine statolith growth ring periodicity in the tropical loliginid squids Loliolus noctiluca and Loligo chinensis.  The Veliger 33, 389–393.

Jackson, G. D. (2004). Advances in defining the life histories of myopsid squid. Marine and Freshwater Research 55,

Jackson, G. D. , and Choat, J. H. (1992). Growth in tropical cephalopods: an analysis based on statolith microstructure. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 49, 218–228.

Jackson, G. D. , and Domeier, M. (2003). The effects of an extraordinary El Niño/La Niña event on the size and growth of the squid Loligo opalescens off Southern California. Marine Biology 142, 925–935.

Jackson, G. D. , and Pecl, G. T. (2003). The dynamics of the summer spawning population of the loliginid squid Sepioteuthis australis in Tasmania, Australia – a conveyor belt of cohorts. ICES Journal of Marine Science 60, 290–296.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Jackson, G. D. , Forsythe, J. W. , Hixon, R. F. , and Hanlon, R. T. (1997). Age, growth, and maturation of Lolliguncula brevis (Cephalopoda: Loliginidae) in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico with a comparison of length-frequency versus statolith age analysis. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54, 2907–2919.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Jantzen, T. M. , and Havenhand, J. N. (2003). Reproductive behaviour in the squid Sepioteuthis australis from South Australia: Interactions on the spawning grounds. The Biological Bulletin 204, 305–317.

Lipinski, M. R. (1986). Methods for the validation of squid age from statoliths. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 66, 505–526.

Lipinski, M. R. , Durholtz, M. D. , and Underhill, L. G. (1998). Field validation of age readings from the statoliths of chokka squid (Loligo vulgaris reynaudii d’Orbigny, 1845) and an assessment of associated errors. ICES Journal of Marine Science 55, 240–257.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Moltschaniwskyj, N. A. (1995). Multiple spawning in the tropical squid Photololigo sp.: what is the cost in somatic growth? Marine Biology 124, 127–135.

Moltschaniwskyj, N. A. , and Martínez, P. (1998). Effect of temperature and food levels on the growth and condition of juvenile Sepia elliptica (Hoyle 1885): an experimental approach. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 229, 289–302.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Moltschaniwskyj, N. , and Semmens, J. (2000). Limited use of stored energy reserves for reproduction by the tropical loliginid squid Photololigo sp. Journal of Zoology 251, 307–313.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Moltschaniwskyj, N.A., Pecl, G.T., Lyle, J., Haddon, M., Steer, M. and  Tracey, S. (2003). ‘Population Dynamics and Reproductive Ecology of the Southern Calamary in Tasmania. Final Report 2000/121, 159.’ (FRDC: Deakin, Australia.)

Natsukari, Y. , Nakanose, T. , and Oda, K. (1988). Age and growth of Loliginid squid Photololigo edulis (Hoyle, 1885). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 116, 177–190.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

O’Dor, R. K. , Durward, R. D. , Vessey, E. , and Amaratunga, T. (1980). Feeding and growth rates in captive squid (Illex illecebrosus) and the influence of food availability on growth in the natural population. ICNAF Selected Papers 6, 15–22.

O’Dor, R. K., Rodhouse, P. G., and  Dawe, E. G. (1996). Squid recruitment in the genus Illex. In ‘Developing and Sustaining World Fisheries Resources: The State of Science and Management, 2nd World Fisheries Congress Proceedings’. (Eds. D. A. Hancock, D. C. Smith, A. Grant and J. P. Beumer)  pp. 116–121. (CSIRO: Brisbane, Australia.)

Pecl, G. T. (2000). ‘Comparative Life History of Tropical and Temperate Sepioteuthis Squids in Australian Waters.’ PhD Thesis. (James Cook University of North Queensland: Townsville, Australia)

Pecl, G. T. (2001). Flexible reproductive strategies in tropical and temperate Sepioteuthis squids. Marine Biology 138, 93–101.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Pecl, G. T. , Moltschaniwskyj, N. A. , Tracey, S. R. , and Jordan, A. R. (2004 ). Inter-annual plasticity of squid life-history and population structure: Ecological and management implications. Oecologia 139, 515–524.

Pecl, G. T. , Steer, M. A. , and Hodgson, K. E. (2004 ). The role of hatchling size in generating the intrinsic size-at-age variability of cephalopods: extending the Forsythe hypothesis. Marine and Freshwater Research 55, 387–394.

Raya, C. P. , Balguerías, E. , Fernández-Núñez, M. M. , and Pierce, G. P. (1999). On reproduction and age of the squid Loligo vulgaris from the Saharan Bank (north-west African coast). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 79, 111–120.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Ricker, W. E. (1979). Growth rates and models. In ‘Fish Physiology. Vol. III’. (Eds. W. S. Hoar, D. J. Randall, J. R. Brett and J. P. Beumer)  pp. 677–743. (Academic Press: New York, USA.)

Robin, J.-P. , and Denis, V. (1999). Squid stock fluctuations and water temperature: temporal analysis of English Channel Loliginidae. Journal of Applied Ecology 36, 101–110.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Rodhouse, P. G. , and Hatfield, E. M. C. (1990). Dynamics of growth and maturation in the cephalopod Illex argentinus de Castellanos, 1960 (Teuthoidea: Ommastrephidae). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 329, 229–241.

Roff, D. A. (1992). ‘The Evolution of Life Histories: Theory and Analysis.’ (Chapman and Hall: New York, USA.)

Sebens, K. P. (1987). The ecology of indeterminate growth in animals. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 18, 371–406.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Semmens, J. M. , and Moltschaniwskyj, N. A. (2000). An examination of variable growth in the loliginid squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana: a whole animal and reductionist approach. Marine Ecology Progress Series 193, 135–141.

Steer, M. , Moltschaniwskyj, N. A. , and Gowland, F. C. (2002). Temporal variability in embryonic development and mortality in the southern calamary Sepioteuthis australis: a field assessment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 243, 143–150.

Steer, M. , Moltschaniwskyj, N. A. , and Jordan, A. R. (2003). Embryonic development of southern calamary (Sepioteuthis australis) within the constraints of an aggregated egg mass. Marine and Freshwater Research 54, 217–226.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Steer, M. A. , Pecl, G. T. , and Moltschaniwskyj, N. A. (2003). Are bigger calamary Sepioteuthis australis hatchlings more likely to survive? A study based on statolith dimensions. Marine Ecology Progress Series 261, 175–182.

Triantafillos, L. (2004). Effects of genetic and environmental factors on growth of southern calamary, Sepioteuthis australis from southern Australia and northern New Zealand. Marine and Freshwater Research 55, 439–446.

van Camp, L. M. (1997). The Effects of Temperature and Food Availability on Growth and Reproductive Output: Using a Cephalopod as a Model. Honours Thesis. (James Cook University of North Queensland: Townsville, Australia)

Vidal, E. A. G. , DiMarco, F. P. , Wormouth, J. H. , and Lee, P. G. (2002). Optimizing rearing conditions of hatchling loliginid squid.  Marine Biology 140, 117–127.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Villanueva, R. (1992). Interannual growth differences in the oceanic squid Todarodes angolensis Adam in the northern Benguela upwelling system, based on statolith growth increment analysis. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 159, 157–177.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Villanueva, R. (2000). Effect of temperature on statolith growth of the European squid Loligo vulgaris during early life. Marine Biology 136, 449–460.
Crossref | GoogleScholarGoogle Scholar |

Winstanley, R. H. , Potter, M. A. , and Caton, A. E. (1983). Australian cephalopod resources. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria 44, 243–253.

Yang, W. T. , Hixon, R. F. , Turk, P. E. , Krejci, M. E. , Hulet, W. H. , and Hanlon, R. T. (1986). Growth, behaviour, and sexual maturation of the market squid, Loligo opalescens, cultured through the life cycle. Fishery Bulletin 84, 771–798.

Young, J. , Bradford, R. , Lamb, T. , and Lyne, V. (1996). Biomass of zooplankton and micronekton in the southern bluefin tuna fishing grounds off eastern Tasmania, Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 138, 1–14.

Young, J. W. , Jordan, A. R. , Bobbi, C. , Johannes, R. E. , Haskard, K. , and Pullen, G. (1993). Seasonal and interannual variability in krill (Nyctiphanes australis) stocks and their relationship to the fishery for jack mackerel (Trachurus declivis) off eastern Tasmania, Australia. Marine Biology 116, 9–18.