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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 551:227-238 (2016)  -  DOI:

Biogeographic distribution of the eel Anguilla luzonensis: dependence upon larval duration and oceanic currents

Yu-San Han1,*, Yong-Fu Lin2, Chau-Ron Wu2, Yoshiyuki Iizuka3, Tersa R. Castillo4, Irene U. Yambot5, Macmod D. Mamalangkap6, Apolinario V. Yambot5

1Institute of Fisheries Science and Department of Life Science, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
2Department of Earth Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei 11677, Taiwan
3Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, Nangang, Taipei 11574, Taiwan
4College of Fisheries, Mindanao State University, General Santos City 9500, Philippines
5Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Laboratory, College of Fisheries, Central Luzon State University, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija 3120, Philippines
6Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Cotabato City 9600, Philippines
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Anguilla luzonensis, a recently identified tropical Anguilla species, was categorized as ‘Near Threatened’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List in 2014. However, its biogeographic distribution and dispersal mechanism remain unconfirmed. This study aimed to clarify the biotic and abiotic factors that may shape the eel’s dispersal range, which could help to establish suitable conservation strategies. Glass eel distribution was investigated in Taiwan, Luzon, Mindanao, and Sulawesi. A. marmorata was used as a reference eel species for comparison. Although both species were found year-round, A. marmorata was found in all locations and was abundant at most sites. However, A. luzonensis was concentrated only on Luzon Island, mainly between June and October. It was rarely observed in Taiwan and Mindanao, and was not found in Sulawesi. The spawning site of A. luzonensis is probably located more northward in the North Equatorial Current (NEC), whereby the eel larvae avoid entering the Mindanao Current (MC). In addition, A. luzonensis typically spawns between February and May, and is preferentially transported into the Kuroshio from May to August, when the NEC bifurcation latitude reaches its southernmost position and the Kuroshio transport volume peaks. Furthermore, A. luzonensis has a shorter/narrower range of larval duration than A. marmorata, and its dispersal distance is therefore restricted. The life history traits of A. luzonensis, together with the oceanic current regime, may act together to concentrate its biogeographic distribution on Luzon Island.

KEY WORDS: Anguilla luzonensis · Anguilla marmorata · Biogeography · Fish larvae · Oceanic current · Spawning ground

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Cite this article as: Han YS, Lin YF, Wu CR, Iizuka Y and others (2016) Biogeographic distribution of the eel Anguilla luzonensis: dependence upon larval duration and oceanic currents. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 551:227-238.

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