Antarctic Science

Biological Sciences

Biology and distribution of South Georgia icefish (Pseudochaenichthys georgianus) around South Georgia and Shag Rocks

Sarah Clarkea1, William D.K. Reida1, Martin A. Collinsa1 c1 and Mark Belchiera1

a1 British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK

Abstract

Pseudochaenichthys georgianus is a member of the unique Channichthyidae family of fishes, which lack haemoglobin. The distribution, length-frequency and summer diet are described from 14 bottom trawl surveys undertaken in the summers between 1986 and 2006. Pseudochaenichthys georgianus (50–590 mm TL) were caught throughout the South Georgia shelf from depths of 76–370 m, but very few specimens (< 1%) were caught on the Shag Rocks shelf. Multiple cohorts were present during each survey and length-frequency analysis of these cohorts suggests that growth is fast during the first 3–4 years. Stomach contents analysis (2005 & 2006) indicated that P. georgianus is a pelagic or semi pelagic predator, with the summer diet dominated by Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Fish (channichthyids and notothenids) were also taken, but were a relatively minor part of the diet.

(Received June 22 2007)

(Accepted October 01 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 corresponding author: macol@bas.ac.uk

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