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An extraordinary life span estimate for the clown anemonefish Amphiprion percula

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A population of the clown anemonefish Amphiprion percula was studied for 1 year, in Madang Lagoon, Papua New Guinea. From this study, data on mortality events and social structure were used to construct a stage-structured matrix model and estimate the average age at death (life expectancy) of various classes of individuals. Based on this model, it is estimated that the life expectancy of female A. percula, the oldest individuals in the population, is 30 years. This estimate is two times greater than the longevity estimated for any other coral reef damselfish and six times greater than the longevity expected for a fish of that size. The result complements the growing body of evidence, from widespread taxa, that organisms subject to low levels of extrinsic mortality show retarded senescence and increased longevity. It is suggested that fishes would be an excellent group for a broad scale comparative test of the predictions of the evolutionary theory of ageing.

Keywords: ageing; life expectancy; longevity; queuing; senescence; sociality

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Apdo 202, 50080 Zaragoza, Spain

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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