Evidence to support the annual formation of growth zones in otoliths of Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni)

P. L. Horn, C. P. Sutton, A. L. DeVries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) from the Ross Sea (CCAMLR Subarea 88.1) have been aged assuming that one translucent zone is formed annually in the otoliths of this species. However, no evidence to validate this assumption has previously been presented. In the current work, otoliths from four distinct juvenile length-frequency modes were examined, and the translucent zones counted. Zone counts were consistent within modes, and increased by one in each consecutive mode. This indicates that the modes represented year classes and that one translucent zone is formed annually in otoliths of juvenile D. mawsoni. Mean fish lengths at ages 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 and 3. 5 years were estimated to be 14, 28, 37 and 46 cm total length (TL) respectively. These estimates agree with growth curves calculated previously from a sample of data that was large but lacked any fish younger than 3.5 years. Counting translucent zones in the otoliths of D. mawsoni appears to be a valid method for determining the age of this species. In addition, sagittal otoliths were examined from D. mawsoni that had been injected with oxytetracycline some years before recapture. The six recaptured fish were all large (129-145 cm TL at tagging) and had been at liberty from 1 to 7 years. The number of zones between the fluorescent oxytetracycline line and the otolith margin indicates that one translucent zone is formed annually in otoliths of post-mature D. mawsoni.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-138
Number of pages14
JournalCCAMLR Science
Volume10
StatePublished - Dec 22 2003

Keywords

  • Age validation
  • CCAMLR
  • Length-frequency modal analysis
  • Oxytetracycline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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