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Effects of temperature on free‐embryonic diapause in the autumn‐spawning bitterling Acheilognathus rhombeus(Teleostei: Cyprinidae)

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In bitterling Acheilognathus rhombeus, developmental arrest always occurred at stage D of the free‐embryonic phase, regardless of incubation temperature. Developmental arrest was terminated only by a cold treatment at 4° C for 60–90 days, initiated 10 days post‐hatching. After the termination of developmental arrest, free‐embryos became larvae c. 6 months after hatching, regardless of the time of initiation and duration of the cold treatment. In hybridization experiments between A. rhombeus and several species of spring‐spawning bitterlings, free‐embryos became free‐swimming larvae within 60 days after hatching in all experiments. Developmental arrest was not observed in any of the hybrids, regardless of parental sex. These results suggest that free‐embryonic diapause in A. rhombeus is not induced by environmental factors, such as cold, but by genetic factors, which are recessive to those in spring‐spawning bitterlings. Free‐embryonic diapause in A. rhombeus appears to be an adaptation to winter, which might have evolved with reproduction in autumn among autumn‐spawning bitterling species. This is the only report of free‐embryonic diapause after hatching in fishes, and only the second example of diapause in fishes, along with annual killifishes (Rivulidae).

Keywords: Acheilognathus rhombeus; bitterling; developmental arrest; diapause; free‐embryo; hybridization

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: National Research Institute of Aquaculture, Nakatsuhamaura, Nansei, Watarai, Mie 516-0193, Japan and 2: Aquatic Life Conservation Center, Agricultural Food and Environmental Sciences, Research Center of Osaka Prefecture, Kiya-motomachi, Neyagawa, Osaka 572-0088, Japan

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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