Larval development of Gobius xanthocephalus with genetic validation of larval identification
Larval development of Gobius xanthocephalus with descriptions of the ontogeny of the main structures, changes in pigmentation patterns and allometric relationships are presented for the first time. No previous descriptions of G. xanthocephalus larvae are available and therefore field collected larvae were compared with larvae obtained under controlled conditions. The DNA of adults, juveniles and larvae was compared in order to validate identifications. The overall developmental sequence obtained agrees with those described for other gobies. Pigmentation patterns were, however, distinct from those of other sympatric Gobiidae allowing a clear identification of G. xanthocephalus larvae. Otolith microstructure analysis revealed a linear age and body length relationship, with an estimated larval growth rate of 0·28 mm day−1.
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