Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 10, pp 2349–2358 | Cite as

Temperature-dependent recruitment delay of the Japanese glass eel Anguilla japonica in East Asia

  • Yu-San HanEmail author
Original Paper


Japanese eels spawn mainly during June–August. The larvae (leptocephali) then drift for 3–5 months before metamorphosing into glass eels. The recruitment season generally starts in southern East Asia in November and in northern areas in April the following year, a lag of ~5 months. However, analysis of otolith daily growth rings revealed only a 1–2-month difference in the mean leptocephalus stage between southern and northern East Asian samples. Experiments and field observation indicate that glass eels may starve, lose body weight, and remain in early pigmentation stage for a few months in cold waters. The time lag in recruitment can be accounted for by a longer leptocephalus stage combined with a low temperature-driven delay to upstream migration in winter. The leptocephalus duration and oceanic currents determine the dispersal locations up to the glass eel phase, while temperatures determine the timing of upstream migration time at each location.


Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer North Equatorial Current Upstream Migration Otolith Increment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was funded by the National Taiwan University (98R0314); National Science Council of the Executive Yuan, Taiwan (NSC 99-2923-B-002-005-MY3 and NSC 99-2313-B-002-021-MY3). I want to thank the eel traders Mr. WC Chen, JH Yao, and YF Chen for providing information about glass eels, and the students and assistants of the Institute of Fisheries Science, National Taiwan University, for their help with eel sampling. I would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life Science and Institute of Fisheries ScienceCollege of Life Science, National Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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