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Age and growth of the gulf toadfish Opsanus beta based on otolith increment analysis

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In the present study, sagittal otoliths of confirmed male and female specimens of the gulf toadfish Opsanus beta that were collected monthly over the course of a year from Biscayne Bay, Florida, U.S.A. were analysed. The timing and frequency of O. beta spawning seasons are reported by examination of the gonado-somatic index. The estimated ages of males and females ranged from < 1 year to 6 and 5 years, respectively. Strong sexual dimorphism in growth was apparent with von Bertalanffy parameter estimates for males of L = 393·8 mm, K = 0·30, t0 = 0·36 and females of L = 201·1 mm, K = 0·79, t0 = 0·47. Comparison with previously published growth trajectories of the more northerly distributed conspecific Opsanus tau showed that O. beta males had a higher growth rate. Female O. beta and O. tau growth trajectories appear similar, with an indication that the former becomes asymptotic at least a year before the latter. Results are discussed in the context of temperature regimes, reproductive energy allocation and waste urea excretion in the two species.

Keywords: age determination; ureotely; von Bertalanffy growth

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Cooperative Institute of Marine & Atmospheric Studies, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149-1098, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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