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Influence of water temperature and feeding regime on otolith growth in Anguilla japonica glass eels and elvers: does otolith growth cease at low temperatures?

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The influences of water temperature and feeding regime on otolith growth in Anguilla japonica glass eels and elvers were investigated using individuals reared at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30° C and in fed or unfed conditions at salinity 32 after their otoliths were marked with alizarin complexone (ALC). To eliminate the difficulty of observing the edges of otoliths with optical (OM) or scanning electron (SEM) microscopes, three to 10 individuals were sampled from each tank at 10, 20 and 30 days during the experiment and reared for an additional 10 days at 25° C after their otoliths were marked a second time. Otolith growth and the number of increments were measured using both OM and SEM. Most A. japonica commenced feeding after 10 days at 20–30° C or after 20 days at 15° C, but no feeding occurred at 5 and 10° C. No otolith growth occurred at 5 and 10° C except in two individuals with minimal increment deposition at 10° C. Otolith growth was proportional to water temperature within 15–25° C and not different between 25 and 30° C. At 15, 25 and 30° C, the mean otolith growth rate in fed conditions was higher than in unfed conditions. The number of increments per day was significantly different among water temperatures (0·00–0·01 day−1 at 5 and 10° C, 0·43–0·48 day−1 at 15° C and 0·94–1·07 day−1 at 20–30° C). These results indicated that otolith growth in A. japonica glass eels and elvers was affected by temperature and ceased at ≤10° C under experimental conditions. Hence, future studies analysing the otoliths of wild-caught A. japonica glass eels and elvers need to carefully consider the water temperatures potentially experienced by the juveniles in the wild.
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Keywords: daily increment; feeding rate; metabolic rate; otolith check; otolith growth cessation

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai, Nakano, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan 2: IRAGO Institute Co. Ltd, Ehima, Tahara, Aichi 441-3605, Japan

Publication date: 2009-06-01

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