Scientia Marina, Vol 71, No 3 (2007)

Larval development of Dagetichthys marginatus (Soleidae) obtained from hormone-induced spawning under artificial rearing conditions

Ernst F. Thompson
Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University

Nadine A. Strydom
South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity

Thomas Hecht
Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University


Dagetichthys marginatus (formerly Synaptura marginata) larvae were laboratory-reared from wild caught adult broodstock as part of an aquaculture research project in temperate South Africa. A larval description for the species is provided in this paper. This work also represents the first larval description for the genus Dagetichthys, which is represented by five species, three of which occur in the western Indian Ocean. Larval development in D. marginatus is typical of Soleidae. Dagetichthys marginatus larvae are heavily pigmented, with four characteristic melanophore “blotches” on the finfold. These larvae are easily distinguished from other soleid larvae commonly encountered in temperate South Africa based on the large size at flexion (5-7.06 mm BL) and the heavily pigmented body. Laboratory-reared postflexion larvae in this study showed similar meristic counts to those of wild caught adult fish. Despite the common occurrence of mature adults of this species in shallow marine waters off temperate South Africa, larvae are absent from nearshore ichthyoplankton catches. As yet, the spawning strategy of the species is unknown.


Synaptura; fish larvae; description; temperate ichthyoplankton; soleids; aquaculture

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