MEPS 193:135-141 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/meps193135

An examination of variable growth in the loliginid squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana: a whole animal and reductionist approach

Jayson M. Semmens1,*, Natalie A. Moltschaniwskyj1,2

1School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
2School of Aquaculture, University of Tasmania, PO Box 1214, Launceston, Tasmania 7250, Australia

ABSTRACT: Squids typically demonstrate considerable plasticity in individual growth rates. However, it is not known if individuals growing at different rates also differ at lower levels of organisation. We wished to determine if Sepioteuthis lessoniana individuals that were larger than predicted for their age differed in their digestive gland and mantle muscle tissue proximal composition or mantle muscle structure, compared with individuals that were smaller for their age than predicted. The residual, the difference between the observed size-at-age and that predicted by the growth equation, was used as a measure of the difference in an individual's lifetime growth from the population average. Individual squid varied considerably in their size-at-age, with juveniles showing less variation than adults. Juveniles had greater concentrations of lipid in their muscle tissue, perhaps due to an emphasis on storing energy reserves in this critical period of their life. Differences in biochemical constituents in both the digestive gland and muscle tissue were not related to the size-at-age of individuals, despite biochemical make-up being the lowest organisational level of growth. This may be due to whole animal growth and changes in biochemical composition occurring on different time scales. There was no relationship between the size-at-age of individuals and average mantle muscle fibre size. A strong relationship, however, existed between the size of mantle muscle blocks and the size-at-age of individuals for both juvenile and adult individuals, suggesting that larger muscle blocks are related to both body size and faster individual growth rates. This study demonstrates a clear relationship between mantle muscle structure and growth and the size-at-age of S. lessoniana individuals.


KEY WORDS: Squid · Size-at-age · Condition · Muscle tissue · Digestive gland


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