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Spawning patterns of four species of predominantly temperate pelagic fishes in the sub-tropical waters of southern Queensland

Ward, T.M. and Staunton-Smith, J. and Hoyle, S. and Halliday, I.A. (2003) Spawning patterns of four species of predominantly temperate pelagic fishes in the sub-tropical waters of southern Queensland. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 56 (5-6). pp. 1125-1140.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0272-7714(02)00318-9

Publisher URL: http://www.elsevier.com

Abstract

The diverse pelagic fish assemblage of sub-tropical southern Queensland includes fishes with predominantly temperate distributions, such as tailor Pomatomus saltatrix, sardine Sardinops sagax, round herring Etrumeus teres, and Australian anchovy Engraulis australis. The peak spawning seasons of P. saltatrix, S. sagax and E. teres occur during late winter and early spring (June–October). Eggs and larvae of these three species are widely distributed in shelf waters and comprise >50% of the ichthyoplankton assemblage during this period. Mean monthly sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during late winter and early spring range from 21 to 23 °C, and are thus similar to those recorded in southern Australia during summer and autumn, which is the spawning season of these three species in those temperate waters. E. australis eggs occur mainly in inshore waters, and comprise >50% of fish eggs collected during summer and autumn when mean monthly SSTs in southern Queensland exceed 27 °C. E. australis also spawns mainly during summer and autumn in temperate Australia. Hence, water temperature may be less important as a determinant of the spawning season of E. australis than it is for the other three species. The suitability of southern Queensland for spawning by predominantly temperate species during late winter and early spring may contribute to the high diversity of the region's pelagic fish assemblage. Adult P. saltatrix, S. sagax and E. teres appear to migrate northwards into southern Queensland during early winter to spawn, and larvae may be transported southwards into temperate waters by the East Australian Current. This dispersal-migration pattern is similar to those observed for several species, including P. saltatrix, in the western boundary current systems off the east coasts of North America and Africa. Hence, pelagic fishes in ecosystems off the east coast of three continents migrate into sub-tropical waters to spawn, and larvae are transported back into temperate nursery areas by the prevailing current.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© Elsevier Science Ltd.
Keywords:Eggs; larvae; spawning season; spawning area; Pomatomus saltatrix; Sardinops sagax; Etrumeus teres; Engraulis australis; southern Queensland.
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries
Deposited On:11 Jun 2004
Last Modified:08 Sep 2010 00:50

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