Observations on the distribution, population structure and biology of Bathypterois mediterraneus Bauchot, 1962 in three areas of the Mediterranean Sea
Keywords:Bathypterois mediterraneus, distribution, population structure, growth, reproduction, Mediterranean Sea
During the DESEAS cruise Bathypterois mediterraneus specimens were sampled in the Balearic Sea between 1000 and 2800 m as well as in the western and eastern Ionian Sea from 800 to 3300 m and from 800 to 2600 m respectively. The species was found to be more abundant at depths of 1500-2000 m. The size-range was 26-190 mm and the most abundant size class was around 100-120 mm standard length. No significant size-depth trends were shown for either length or weight. Negative allometry was shown in the growth of fishes and otoliths and in the relationship between fish length and otolith size in the samples from the western and eastern Ionian Sea. In these two areas the absolute growth was estimated by adopting the Von Bertalanffy function (western Ionian: SL∞ = 194.3 ± 38.51 mm, k = 0.146 ± 0.061/year, t0 = - 0.921 ± 0.699, ø' = 3.74; eastern Ionian: SL∞ = 180.23 ± 63.36 mm, k = 0.150 ± 0.112/year, t0 = - 0.968 ± 0.868, ø' = 3.70). Although most of the specimens were immature, some ripe gonads were recorded in individuals greater than 104 mm in standard length, confirming the simultaneous hermaphroditism in this fish. The results are discussed in relation to previous observations on the life strategy of B.mediterraneus in the Mediterranean Sea.
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