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Validation of daily increment formation in otoliths of juvenile and adult European anchovy

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The otoliths of juveniles and adults of European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus held in aquaria were marked by immersion in oxytetracycline hydrochloride (OTC) at concentrations between 350 and 410 mg l−1 for 12 h. Counts of microincrements between fluorescent bands validated the daily otolith increment formation. The otolith increments were easily readable at ×400 with average increment widths of c. 1·1 µm. Validation was successfully demonstrated in juveniles and adults maintained for short periods in the aquaria in the summer. For European anchovy captured as juvenile and reared to adults, however, increment formation appeared less than daily. The daily periodicity of the otoliths in juvenile European anchovy implies that counting of microincrements can be used to study their birth dates. The application of this technique to adults, however, may lead to the underestimation of actual age and further research needs to be done to clarify the reasons for the apparent loss of the daily rhythm over long periods.

Keywords: Engraulis encrasicolus; microincrements; otolith growth; validation

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1095-8649.2003.00056.x

Affiliations: 1: Fundación AZTI, Herrera Kaia, Portualde z/g, 20110 Pasaia, Spain, 2: Aquarium de Donostia-San Sebastián, Plaza Carlos Blasco de Imaz, 20003 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain and 3: CSIC/UIB-IMEDEA, Grupo de Oceanografía Interdisciplinar, Miguel Marqués 21, 07190 Esporles, Illes Balears, Spain

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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