AB 16:115-124 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00439

Fertilization strategies for winter flounder: effects of spermatozoa density and the duration of gamete receptivity

Ian A. E. Butts1,*, Paymon Roustaian2, Matthew K. Litvak3

1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4, Canada
2Department of Biology and Centre for Coastal Studies and Aquaculture, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 4L5, Canada
3Department of Biology, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick E4L 1G7, Canada

ABSTRACT: Winter flounder is one of the most commonly used models for studying fish biology in North America; however little is known about their reproductive ecology, especially during the spawning event. The objectives of this research were to determine the optimal number of spermatozoa required to fertilize eggs and to explore how long spermatozoa (30 to 240 s post-activation) and eggs (30 to 7680 s post-activation) are receptive to fertilization after exposure to seawater. We conducted experiments using gametes from wild-caught fish and measured fertilization success by examining eggs at 5 to 6 d post-fertilization. On average 34038 sperm cells per egg were required to fertilize 81.3% of the eggs. Duration after spermatozoa activation had an effect on the proportion of eggs fertilized (F3,6.69 = 338.38; p < 0.0001; mixed-model ANOVA). At 30 s post-spermatozoa activation, 98% of the eggs were fertilized. After 60 s, a significant decrease in fertilization success was detected. Duration after egg exposure to seawater had an effect on the proportion of eggs fertilized (F8,16 = 19.89; p < 0.0001; mixed-model ANOVA). For all trials (30 to 1920 s), the percentage of eggs fertilized ranged from 61 to 90%. A significant decrease to 11% occurred at 3840 s after egg exposure. This area of research has particular importance for our understanding of reproductive strategies, evolutionary challenges, reproductive potential and recruitment. In addition, examining sperm–egg interactions provides information important to management of living and frozen-thawed gene banks.


KEY WORDS: Marine fish · Reproduction · Sperm · Egg · Fisheries · Aquaculture · Segmented regression


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Cite this article as: Butts IAE, Roustaian P, Litvak MK (2012) Fertilization strategies for winter flounder: effects of spermatozoa density and the duration of gamete receptivity. Aquat Biol 16:115-124. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00439

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