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Anguilla marmorata larval migration plasticity as revealed by otolith microstructural analysis

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The oceanic early-life history of Anguilla marmorata was examined in the southwestern Indian Ocean in Mayotte, Mauritius, and Réunion islands through otolith microstructural analysis. The study of the hatching dates, the first feeding check diameter (FFD), the leptocephalus (LD) and metamorphosis (MD) durations, the age at recruitment (AR), and the leptocephalus otolith growth rate (OGR) of glass eels revealed great variations in early-life traits and relationships between them. An agglomerative nesting analysis discriminated three early-life histories, differently represented according to the locality: (i) fast migrants with short LD, short MD, young AR, large FFD, and high OGR dominated in Réunion and Mayotte; (ii) midspeed migrants with intermediate LD, MD, AR, FFD, and OGR dominated in Mauritius; (iii) slow migrants with long LD, long MD, old AR, small FFD, and low OGR were recorded only in Mauritius. All possible strategies were not observed and therefore not successful at the sampling time. However, several were simultaneously expressed, which suggests larval migration plasticity at the population level. This evidence is crucial information regarding both the species dispersal capabilities and the evolution from short-migratory tropical species towards long-migratory temperate ones in the genus Anguilla.

L’histoire de vie larvaire d’Anguilla marmorata a été examinée dans le sud-ouest de l’Océan Indien à Mayotte, Maurice et La Réunion, par analyse de la microstructure des otolithes des civelles. Les traits de vie tels les dates d’éclosion, la marque de première prise de nourriture (FFD), les durées de vie leptocéphale (LD) et de métamorphose (MD), l’âge au recrutement (AR) et les taux de croissance de l’otolithe (OGR), se sont montrés variables et diversement corrélés. Trois types d’histoires de vie larvaire, discriminés par analyse de groupement agglomératif hiérarchique, ont été observés à l’échelle géographique : (i) migrateurs rapides à LD et MD courtes, AR jeunes, et FFD et OGR importants, dominants à La Réunion et à Mayotte; (ii) migrateurs intermédiaires à LD, MD, AR, FFD et OGR intermédiaires, dominants à Maurice; (iii) migrateurs lents à LD et MD longues, AR avancés, et FFD et OGR faibles, observés seulement à Maurice. Toutes les stratégies possibles n’ont pas été observées et ont donc été inefficaces pendent la période étudiée. L’expression simultanée de plusieurs stratégies laisse supposer, à l’échelle de la population, une plasticité de la migration larvaire chez A.marmorata. L’information est cruciale au regard des capacités de dispersion et du scénario d’évolution du genre Anguilla qui suppose une émergence des espèces tempérées aux migrations larvaires longues à partir des espèces tropicales aux migrations larvaires courtes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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