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Sexuality and Early Development in Aquatic Organisms

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SEDAO 1:35-44 (2014)  -  DOI:

Maturity of the pufferfish Lagocephalus sceleratus in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea

Maria Rousou1,2, Konstantinos Ganias2,*, Demetris Kletou1,3, Alexandros Loucaides1, Markos Tsinganis2

1Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab Ltd, Nicosia, Cyprus
2School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54 124 Thessaloniki, Greece
3School of Marine Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The present study assesses maturity and reproductive dynamics of pufferfish Lagocephalus sceleratus (Gmelin, 1789) off Cyprus (southeastern Mediterranean Sea), in relation to regional differences in oceanographic conditions, habitat characteristics and fishing activity. In addition, the allometric pattern of gonadal growth was studied to validate the use of the gonadosomatic index (GSI) in assessments of the reproductive cycle. To do so, 4743 pufferfish were sampled between May and October 2010 so as to cover the reproductive period of the population, which peaks from late spring to middle summer. Analysis of GSI data showed a clear differentiation between 2 pufferfish populations residing in the southwestern (SWA) and the south-east (SEA) coastal areas of Cyprus. Specifically, the SWA population was mainly dominated by immature individuals and exhibited a more delayed and narrow reproductive period. Moreover, generalized linear model analysis (GLM) showed that the SWA population exhibited significantly smaller size at 50% maturity, L50 (41.9 cm), compared to the SEA population (48.8 cm). These differences in reproductive seasonality and L50 were not found to be related to differences in sea surface temperature (SST) between the 2 regions, whilst mature individuals almost entirely disappeared from both areas outside the reproductive period. The latter could not be attributed to overfishing of the larger size classes since the fishery was not shown to be selective to pufferfish size. These results indicate that L. sceleratus may be a spawning migratory species that visits Cyprus southeastern coasts to reproduce and then migrates to other warm areas of the eastern Levantine basin.

KEY WORDS: Lagocephalus sceleratus · Maturity · Lessepsian migrant · Invasive species · Eastern Mediterranean

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Cite this article as: Rousou M, Ganias K, Kletou D, Loucaides A, Tsinganis M (2014) Maturity of the pufferfish Lagocephalus sceleratus in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea. Sex Early Dev Aquat Org 1:35-44.

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