Growth variability of juvenile soles Solea solea and Solea senegalensis, and comparison with RNA : DNA ratios in the Tagus estuary, Portugal
Growth variability and condition of juvenile soles Solea solea and Solea senegalensis, were assessed through RNA : DNA estimates and compared to absolute growth rates. Higher mean cohort RNA : DNA ratios were observed for cohort I at the beginning of estuarine occurrence for both species (4·42 and 4·87, for S. solea and S. senegalensis respectively). Despite different estuarine colonization habits, no significant differences were observed between RNA : DNA monthly variation for both sole species within the same year (P > 0·05 for 2003 and 2004). Juvenile S. senegalensis showed significant differences between RNA : DNA ratios obtained for the two nursery areas (P < 0·001). The decrease of seasonal growth rates with fish age was similar to seasonal variation of mean RNA : DNA values. Thus the RNA : DNA pattern of juvenile S. solea and S. senegalensis reflected growth and estuarine colonization patterns.
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