Aspects of the reproductive biology and early life history of black bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri (Sparidae), in a brackish lagoon system in southeastern Australia

Shelley Walker and Francisco J. Neira

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 135-142, Volume 4, Issue 4 – August 2001


Aspects of the reproductive biology and early life history of black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) in the Gippsland Lakes, a large brackish lagoon system in southeastern Australia, are described. Trends in mean gonadosomatic indices of males and females between November 1993 and March 1996 indicate that spawning occurred between October and February, with a peak in October-November when water temperatures were 15-22°C. Larvae (4.6-11.2 mm body length (BL)) were caught in shallow brackish ponds in November 1996 ad January 1997 and possess the typical sparid characteristics. Notochord flexion in larvae occurs at 4.6-6.0 mm BL, while early juveniles settle from about 13 mm BL. Ageing of black bream showed that the youngest sexually mature male (15.6 cm fork length (FL)) and female (15.9 cm FL) were 3+ year olds. The ability of black bream to complete their life cycle within estuarine environments appears to be unique amongst members of the Sparidae worldwide.

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