Reproduction in Antarctic notothenioid fish
Gonad maturation in Antarctic notothenioid fish is a biennial process although spawning is likely to take place annually. However, part of the populations of Champsocephalus gunnari in the Atlantic Ocean sector do not spawn each year. Gonadosomatic index (GSI) of females is 15–40% at spawning. Apart from a few nototheniid species of the GSI of males is much less and typically only 15–20% of that of females. Length at first spawning may be from 55% of Lmax onwards, but in many species it is not attained until 70–80% of the maximum length. The only exception is Champsocephalus gunnari at South Georgia which may begin spawning at about 40% of Lmax. Most species of the Seasonal Pack-ice Zone are autumn/winter spawners, whereas in the High-Antarctic Zone more species spawn in summer and autumn. Spawning time is remarkably constant among populations of some species, in others a latitudinal shift in spawning time is apparent. Fecundity is commonly positively correlated with fish length and weight. It exceeds 100 000 eggs only in a few nototheniid species and is commonly in the order of 1000 to 15–20 000 eggs. Ova diameter varies from 0.8 to 5.0 mm. Egg size distribution among fishes of the Seasonal Pack-ice Zone is bimodal. There is a general trend in nototheniids of increasing egg size and decreasing relative fecundity towards higher latitudes. Incubation time may be up to five months. Eggs of most species are probably left unattended for the long incubation period. Nest guarding has been observed in three species but may be more common in particular among the artedidraconids. A number of reproductive strategies associated with nest guarding, egg size and the duration of the pelagic phase have been identified.(Received July 18 1990)
(Accepted February 26 1991)
Key Words: fish; gonadosomatic index; Notothenioids.