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Sexual dimorphism and gonadal development of the Australian longfinned river eel

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The sex and stage of gonadal development of longfinned river eels Anguilla reinhardtii, captured from nine river catchments in New South Wales, Australia, between 1999 and 2001, were determined macroscopically. Sex was verified by histology. Histology was also necessary, however, to accurately define stages of gonadal development, particularly in individuals <600 mm in total body length. Anguilla reinhardtii displayed asynchronous gamete development. The most advanced cells present in migrating male and female A. reinhardtii were spermatocytes and pre-vitellogenic oocytes, respectively. Gonadal development stages were positively correlated with body size in both sexes. Females, however, were significantly larger than males and their gonads matured over a broader size range. Size at sexual differentiation (42–60 cm for males and 50–76 cm for females) was much larger than for most other anguillids that have been studied, with the exception of the New Zealand longfinned eel Anguilla dieffenbachii. Corresponding with its large range in size at sexual differentiation was a relatively large range in size at migration for both males (44–62 cm) and females (74–142 cm).
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Keywords: Anguilla reinhardtii; gonad development; sexual dimorphism

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: NSW Fisheries, P. O. Box 21, Cronulla NSW 2230, Australia and 2: University of Technology, Sydney, Department of Environmental Sciences, Westbourne Street, Gore Hill NSW 2065, Australia

Publication date: 01 July 2003

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