Reproductive strategy of a primitive temperate notothenioid Eleginops maclovinus
The reproductive biology of Eleginops maclovinus was examined in the Falkland Islands between October 2000 and December 2002. Males predominated at total lengths (LT) of 10 to 52 cm and females at >53 cm LT. Length frequency analysis showed a bimodal distribution with females representing the larger mode for every month during the study period. Gonad histology revealed that 19% of the histological samples studied were considered to be those from hermaphrodites: morphologically as male gonads but containing protoplasmic oocytes. It was therefore concluded that E. maclovinus is a protandrous hermaphrodite. The size of first (male) maturation of E. maclovinus was 30·73 cm LT. Males and females matured from August onwards and spawning occurred between September and December at depths of >40 m. Eleginops maclovinus has the smallest eggs and highest fecundity among the notothenioids. The highest potential fecundity was attained at maturity stage III with c. 48 million eggs. Because of further oocyte resorption, this value gradually decreased until the final fecundity ranged from 1·1 to 7·3 million eggs. Oocyte length frequencies in ovaries suggested that E. maclovinus was a batch spawner. Hydrated oocytes were found to contain a large perivitelline space indicating that the egg had a pelagic development.