, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 219-268

Size at maturity of Mediterranean marine fishes

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Abstract

In this review we collected data on the length at maturity (Lm) and maximum reported total length (Lmax) of 565 Mediterranean marine fish stocks, representing 150 species, 68 families, 24 orders and 3 classes. Overall, Lm ranged from 2 cm, for the males of the toothcarp Aphanius fasciatus, to 350 cm, for the females of the bluntnose sixgill shark Hexanchus griseus. Lm was positively linearly related with Lmax for Actinopterygii (logLm = −0.123 + 0.92 × logLmax; r 2 = 0.87, n = 471, P < 0.001) and Elasmobranchii (logLm = −0.008 + 0.922 × logLmax; r 2 = 0.90, n = 92, P < 0.001) with the two slopes being significantly different (ANCOVA: F = 2,904, P < 0.001). The reproductive load (Lm/Lmax) ranged between 0.23 (sand steenbras Lithognathus mormyrus) and 0.94 (angular roughshark Oxynotus centrina and thornback ray Raja clavata). The mean Lm/Lmax was significantly (ANOVA, F = 34.14, P < 0.001) lower for Actinopterygii (mean = 0.59, SD = 0.122, n = 471) compared to Elasmobranchii (mean = 0.70, SD = 0.132, n = 92) and Holocephali (mean = 0.77, SD = 0.077, n = 2). The Lm/Lmax was significantly (ANOVA, F = 43.80, P < 0.001) higher for species providing some form of parental care, i.e. guarders, bearers, nesters (mean Lm/Lmax ± SD = 0.68 ± 0.141, n = 111) compared to non-guarders (mean Lm/Lmax ± SD = 0.59 ± 0.123, n = 454). The mean Lm/Lmax displayed a remarkable constancy with longitude (northern and southern Mediterranean coastline: ANOVA, F = 0.01, P = 0.93), latitude (western, central and eastern regions: ANOVA, F = 1.25, P = 0.29) and habitat (ANOVA, F = 0.85, P = 0.51).