, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 365-380

Biology of the western pygmy perch,Edelia vittata, and comparisons with two other teleost species endemic to south-western Australia

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Synopsis

This paper provides data on the movements, spawning times and localities, size and age composition, growth and diet of the western pygmy perch,Edelia vittata, in a south-western Australian river. The results of this study are compared with those recorded previously for two other locally endemic species (Galaxias occidentalis andBostockia porosa) to ascertain the extent to which these three species utilise the same resources, and whether they are similarly adapted to the highly seasonal flow regime. A total of 3396Edelia vittata was collected with a 3 mm mesh seine net from the Collie River in south-western Australia at 3–6 week intervals over a period of 26 months. During the winter, fish moved from the river into either adjacent flood waters or tributary creeks. The trends shown by gonadosomatic indices, oocyte growth and prevalence of post-ovulatory follicles, demonstrate that spawning takes place between late winter and late spring (July–November). Sexual maturity was attained by both sexes at the end of the first year of life. Although 99% of the fish belonged to the 0+, 1+ and 2+ age classes, representatives of the 3+, 4+ and 5+ age classes were also caught. The respective von Bertalanffy growth curve parameters for L, K and t0 were 54.9, 1.178 and -0.210 for males and 57.9, 1.124 and -0.198 for females. At the end of the first and second years of life, the lengths predicted from the von Bertalanffy growth equations were 42 mm (≡ 0.8 g) and 51 mm (≡ 1.4 g) for males and 43 mm (≡ 0.9 g) and 53 mm (≡ 1.6 g) for females. The diet consisted of a wide range of small benthic invertebrates, especially dipteran larvae, ostracods and cyclopoid copepods. The peak time, duration and predominant locality of spawning, the time of day when maximum activity occurs and the diet ofEdelia vittata differs from those previously recorded forGalaxias occidentalis andBostockia porosa. These differences would be likely to minimize any potential competition amongst these three species. The growth rates, age at first sexual maturity and pattern of oocyte development also differ amongst the three species.