MEPS 402:233-238 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08448

Japanese eel Anguilla japonica do not assimilate nutrition during the oceanic spawning migration: evidence from stable isotope analysis

Seinen Chow1,*, Hiroaki Kurogi1, Satoshi Katayama1, Daisuke Ambe2, Makoto Okazaki2, Tomowo Watanabe2, Tadafumi Ichikawa2, Masashi Kodama2, Jun Aoyama3, Akira Shinoda3, Shun Watanabe3, Katsumi Tsukamoto3, Sachie Miyazaki3, Shingo Kimura3, Yoshiaki Yamada4, Kazuharu Nomura5, Hideki Tanaka5, Yukinori Kazeto5, Kazuhiro Hata6, Takeshi Handa6, Atsushi Tawa7, Noritaka Mochioka7

1National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, 6-3-1 Nagai, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-0316, Japan
2National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, 2-12-4 Fukuura, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-8648, Japan
3Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan
4IRAGO Institute, 377 Ehima-Shinden Atsumi-Cho, Aichi 441-3605, Japan
5National Research Institute of Aquaculture, 422-1 Nakatsu-Hamaura, Mie 516-0193, Japan
6National Fisheries University, 2-7-1 Nagata-Honmachi, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi 759-6595, Japan
7Kyushu University, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan

ABSTRACT: During 2008 and 2009, a total of 12 adult Japanese eels Anguilla japonica were captured in the southern part of the West Mariana Ridge, the presumed spawning area. We compared the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) between the ‘Mariana silvers’ (terminal phase) and those of yellow and silver eels caught in rivers, lakes and coastal areas of Japan (initial phase). Profiles of stable isotope signatures between the initial and terminal phases were similar; both characteristically had a wide range for δ13C (–24.9 to –12.0‰ and –20.5 to –11.3‰ for the initial and terminal phases, respectively) and δ15N (6.5 to 18.4‰ and 9.0 to 18.1‰, respectively). Mesopelagic fishes, including several other anguillid species caught near the West Mariana Ridge, characteristically had a very narrow range of δ13C (–16.9 to –15.3‰) and a wide but lower range of δ15N (5.3 to 11.1‰) than the Japanese eels. The very similar profiles in stable isotopic signatures between the initial and terminal phase eels, distinct from those of Mariana mesopelagic fishes, indicate that Japanese eels do not assimilate nutrition from the marine environment during long (ca. 6 mo) spawning migration and retain the initial isotopic values of where they ceased feeding.


KEY WORDS: δ13C · δ15N · Starvation · Spawning migration · Anguilla japonica


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Cite this article as: Chow S, Kurogi H, Katayama S, Ambe D and others (2010) Japanese eel Anguilla japonica do not assimilate nutrition during the oceanic spawning migration: evidence from stable isotope analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 402:233-238. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08448

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