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

Biology of four species of Whiting (Pisces: Sillaginidae) in Botany Bay, NSW

JJ Burchmore, DA Pollard, MJ Middleton, JD Bell and BC Pease

Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 39(6) 709 - 727
Published: 1988


Four species of whiting (Family Sillaginidae) were collected from Botany Bay, New South Wales, between 1977 and 1979: Sillago ciliata (sand whiting), S. maculata maculata (trumpeter whiting), S. robusta (stout whiting) and S. bassensis flindersi (eastern school whiting). Sillago ciliata was the most abundant species over-all. Sillago ciliata was caught in greatest numbers in Zostera seagrass and shallow sandy habitats, whereas S. m. maculata, S. robusta and S. b. flindersi were most abundant over deeper muddy and sandy habitats. Sillago ciliata and S. b. flindersi were present mainly as juveniles. Gonosomatic indices and gonadal maturity stages of S. ciliata and S. m. maculata peaked around February. These species probably spawn within the Bay. Length to caudal fork at first maturity was 24 cm for male and female S. ciliata, 19 cm for male and female S. m. maculata, 17 cm for male and 18 cm for female S. robusta, and 14 cm for male and female S. b. flindersi. Although all species fed mainly on polychaetes and crustaceans, there was little overlap in specific dietary items between species. Variations observed in diet were due to fish size and temporal and spatial habitat differences within and among species.

© CSIRO 1988

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