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A histological investigation of the occurrence of non-reproductive female bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus in the Mediterranean Sea

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The presence of non-reproductive Atlantic bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus females in the Mediterranean Sea was investigated through histological analysis of the gonads. Three hundred and twenty-six ovary samples were collected from adults captured at different locations in the Mediterranean Sea during the reproductive seasons between 1998 and 2008. Only three specimens were considered to be in a non-reproductive state: two of them were in a reabsorbing state showing ovaries with early vitellogenic oocytes and extensive α and  atresia of vitellogenic follicles; the third showed gonads with perinucleolar oocytes and was considered to be in a resting state. The low occurrence of non-reproductive individuals found in this study makes it unlikely that non-reproductive individuals aggregate with reproductive ones during their migration towards spawning grounds. Further research is suggested in order to investigate the potential presence of non-reproductive individuals on non-spawning grounds during the reproductive season.
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Keywords: ovarian histology; reproduction; skipped spawning

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Health and Wellbeing, University of Bari, S. P. per Casamassima km. 3, I-70010 Valenzano (BA), Italy 2: Institut für Zoophysiologie, Heinrich-Heine Universität, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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