Age, growth, mortality, reproduction and feeding habits of the striped seabream, Lithognathus mormyrus (Pisces: Sparidae) in the coastal waters of the Thracian Sea, Greece
Keywords:Lithognathus mormyrus, northeastern Mediterranean, age, growth, mortality, reproduction, feeding
Age, growth, mortality, reproduction and feeding habits were analysed for Lithognathus mormyrus collected in the coastal waters of the Thracian Sea from November 1997 to September 1999. Specimens ranged from 42 to 341 mm in total length. Weight increased with size allometrically (b = 3.242) for immature individuals and isometrically (b = 2.960) for males, females and intersexuals. Growth was described by the standard form of the von Bertalanffy growth equation and the estimated parameters were k = 0.21, t0 = –0.996 and L? = 309.4. Total and natural instantaneous rate of mortality was found to be Z = 0.79 year-1 and M = 0.61 year-1. Sex inversion occurred mainly between 210 and 300 mm (4-9 age classes). Males reached sexual maturity at 162.1 mm (2.5 years) and females at 190.40 mm (3.6 years). The spawning period occurred from May to September, while the gamete emission peaked in June-August. Stomach content analysis revealed that L. mormyrus is a carnivorous species feeding on benthic invertebrates, mainly polychaeta and bivalve molluscs. Ontogenetic variation in the diet composition showed that while growing, the fish become more generalist feeders. We also found that in the summer season the fish become more selective feeders.
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