, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 623-632

Maturation and spawning of Spratelloides gracilis Clupeidae in temperate waters off Cape Shionomisaki, central Japan

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The reproductive ecology of Spratelloides gracilis was investigated in the temperate waters off Cape Shionomisaki, central Japan. Cape Shionomisaki is located at the northern margin of the distribution range of this species. Females of S. gracilis with gonadosomatic index (GSI)≥4.0 were defined as mature based on the relationship between GSI and the histological maturity phases of their ovaries. More than 50% of females greater than 60 mm standard length (SL) were mature. Hatch dates of larvae and juveniles collected in the study area were determined by otolith daily ring counts and found to extend from April to November. The size at maturity of females (60 mm SL) and the spawning season of S. gracilis in the temperate waters off Cape Shionomisaki (April–November) was larger and shorter, respectively, than those in tropical waters in the western Pacific. The reproductive traits observed for S. gracilis off Cape Shionomisaki appear to be adaptive to northern temperate waters with seasonal changes in environmental conditions.