Gross and histological observations of ovarian development in twaite shad, Alosa fallax fallax, from Rivers Mira and Guadiana (Portugal)
Keywords:oogenesis, oocyte dynamics, Alosa fallax fallax, Portugal
In order to describe the stages of oogenesis of twaite shad, Alosa fallax fallax, 265 females were collected between March and June 1997, February and June 1998 and January and April 1999 in the Rivers Mira and Guadiana. From the histological study of ovaries a total of eight developmental stages were delineated. Gross examination of paired ovary revealed that they could be placed into one of seven maturity stages according to their stage of development. Two stages of atresia, alfa and beta, were identified. Upon cessation of spawning, the ovaries still contained some oocytes at various stages of development but with a greater number of atretic oocytes. The simultaneous occurrence of oocytes at different stages of development in the ovary indicates asynchronous oocyte development. Oocyte size frequency distributions do not show a gap in size between cortical alveoli and vitellogenic oocytes during the spawning season. This may represent the ability of twaite shad to push oocytes through vitellogenesis from a previtellogenic condition during the spawning period. This has important implications for twaite shad fecundity, because fish with this type of oocyte development depend on estimates of batch fecundity and spawning frequency to determine potential annual fecundity.
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