Larval size-distributions of Ariosoma balearicum cryptic species during the March–April season in the Sargasso Sea Subtropical Convergence Zone

Type Article
Date 2019-10
Language English
Author(s) Miller Michael J.1, 2, Marohn Lasse3, Wysujack Klaus3, Bonhommeau SylvainORCID4, Kuroki Mari2, Freese Marko3, Pohlmann Jan-Dag3, Watanabe Shun5, Blancke Tina3, Weist Peggy3, Castonguay Martin6, Westerberg Håkan7, Tsukamoto Katsumi1, 2, Hanel Reinhold3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Marine Science and Resources, College of Bioresource SciencesNihon UniversityFujisawa, Japan
2 : Department of Aquatic Bioscience, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyo, Japan
3 : Thünen Institute of Fisheries EcologyBremerhaven, Germany
4 : IfremerLe Port Cedex, France
5 : Department of Fisheries, Faculty of AgricultureKindai UniversityNara, Japan
6 : Fisheries and Oceans CanadaInstitut Maurice-LamontagneMont-Joli, Canada
7 : Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Freshwater ResearchSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesDrottningholm, Sweden
Source Environmental Biology Of Fishes (0378-1909) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2019-10 , Vol. 102 , N. 10 , P. 1231-1252
DOI 10.1007/s10641-019-00900-8
WOS© Times Cited 4
Keyword(s) Ariosoma balearicum, Leptocephali, Larval dispersal, Sargasso Sea, Subtropical gyre, Cryptic species

Leptocephali of the shallow-water congrid eel Ariosoma balearicum are abundant during February–April in the Sargasso Sea, and larval and adult meristic data indicates this species includes several regional subpopulations/cryptic species. Four multiple-transect larval surveys (2011, 2014, 2015, 2017) were used to examine the geographic size distribution of two myomere-count types of A. balearicum leptocephali. High-count (HC) larvae were consistently mostly between 80 and 100 mm in size (60–132 mm; 87.9 ± 6.8 mm) as observed previously, and frequently had narrow size ranges. The usually larger LC larvae (78–176 mm; 111.4 ± 26.7 mm) were more abundant in western or central areas. HC larvae tended to decrease in size from west to east and increase from south to north. Catch rates were geographically variable relative to hydrographic structure/frontal positions across the wide 2015 sampling area. Mitochondrial 16 s rRNA sequences of HC and LC larvae show species-level differences, providing evidence of the existence of two cryptic species with different larval dispersal strategies in the Sargasso Sea subtropical gyre region. The HC larvae disperse widely into the gyre, seemingly through Gulf Stream recirculation or eastward frontal-jet flows, and apparently must use directional swimming to cross the Florida Current to recruit into the South Atlantic Bight. LC leptocephali may mostly be retained near the Bahamas, with few larvae dispersing into the gyre. This seems to indicate natural selection occurred for spawning location and larval behavior due to the powerful Florida Current/Gulf Stream, resulting in two completely different spawning and larval dispersal strategies within a local geographic region.

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Miller Michael J., Marohn Lasse, Wysujack Klaus, Bonhommeau Sylvain, Kuroki Mari, Freese Marko, Pohlmann Jan-Dag, Watanabe Shun, Blancke Tina, Weist Peggy, Castonguay Martin, Westerberg Håkan, Tsukamoto Katsumi, Hanel Reinhold (2019). Larval size-distributions of Ariosoma balearicum cryptic species during the March–April season in the Sargasso Sea Subtropical Convergence Zone. Environmental Biology Of Fishes, 102(10), 1231-1252. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :