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Evidence of a local spawning site of marine eels along northeastern Japan, based on the distribution of small leptocephali

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Evidence of recent spawning by several species of marine eels of the families Congridae, Ophichthidae, and Nettastomatidae was found over the continental shelf along the coast of northeastern Japan in October 2003. Sixty-three leptocephali of at least three taxa that ranged from 3.8 to 12.3 mm total length were collected in a relatively small area, just to the south of Cape Shioya, primarily over the 100-and 200-m-depth contours. The leptocephali of Gnathophis nystromi nystromi were the most abundant, followed by those of G. nystromi ginanago. This spawning area is located in an area that appeared to include water originating from the Tsugaru Warm Current and is further south than the typical latitude of the cold water of the Oyashio First Intrusion. These findings suggest that some species of marine eels may not migrate past the slope to spawn, and that the oceanographic features of the region may provide favorable conditions for the growth and retention of leptocephali in the area to the south of Cape Shioya.
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Keywords: Congridae; Nettastomatidae; Ophichthidae; leptocephali; marine eels; spawning

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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