Scientia Marina, Vol 74, No 1 (2010)

Age, growth and mortality of the toadfish, Halobatrachus didactylus (Schneider, 1801)(Pisces: Batrachoididae), in the Bay of Cádiz (southwestern Spain)

José Luis Palazón-Fernandez
Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas, Universidad de Oriente-Boca del Río, Isla de Margarita , Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of

Jennifer C. Potts
Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, Beaufort Laboratory-NOAA-101 Pivers Island Road , United States

Charles S. Manooch III
Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, Beaufort Laboratory-NOAA-101 Pivers Island Road , United States

Carmen Sarasquete
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía-CSIC , Spain


Age, growth and mortality of the toadfish, Halobatrachus didactylus, were determined by examination of the whole sagittal otoliths of fish sampled in the Bay of Cádiz (southwestern Spain) from March 1999 to March 2000. A total of 844 specimens (425 males, 416 females, and 3 of indeterminate sex), ranging from 95 to 470 mm in total length were examined. Eighty-nine percent of the otoliths could be read allowing an age estimation. The opaque zone was formed between April and May coincident with the maximum reproductive peak, while the translucent zone formed mainly in summer-fall (June to December). Maximum ages for males and females were 12 and 10 years, respectively. The samples were dominated by 2- to 6-year-old specimens. Males matured at an age of approximately 2 years and females at 3 years. Fish total length and otolith radius were closely related (r2>0.80). The von Bertalanffy growth curve was used to describe growth. The parameters were derived from back-calculated length-at-age. Significant differences in the growth parameters were found between sexes (in males L = 477.06 mm, K = 0.15 and t0 = -0.59; in females L = 363.69 mm, K = 0.20 and t0 = -0.75). Although the growth analysis revealed that this species is slow-growing, males reached larger sizes than females. Females appeared to experience higher natural mortality rates than males.


age; growth; mortality; otolith; toadfish; Halobatrachus didactylus; Bay of Cádiz

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