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Marine Biology

, Volume 138, Issue 3, pp 527–536 | Cite as

Damage, autotomy and arm regeneration in starfish caught by towed demersal fishing gears

  • K. Ramsay
  • M. Bergmann
  • L. O. Veale
  • C. A. Richardson
  • M. J. Kaiser
  • S. J. Vize
  • S. W. Feist

Abstract

Arm damage and loss were examined in the starfish Asterias rubens that had been caught in a variety of towed commercial fishing gears deployed on different sea bed types. Between 7% and 38% of the starfish in each catch lost one or more arms, and arm loss was positively correlated with the volume of the catch for two of the fishing gears examined. Subsequent monitoring of damaged animals showed that arms were autotomised for at least 3 weeks following capture. Mortality was highest in starfish with damaged or missing arms, compared with those that appeared intact after fishing. Arm regeneration was delayed in a small proportion of the animals caught by commercial gears. In a parallel study, 17% of starfish caught by a 4 m beam trawl had a damaged ambulacral ossicle at the point of autotomy (cf. none from a control group that were induced to autotomise under controlled conditions). There was no difference in regeneration rates between the animals caught by commercial gears and a control set (caught by a small trawl and forced to autotomise an arm in the laboratory) once the animals that delayed regeneration were excluded from the dataset. After 1 year under laboratory conditions the starfish had, on average, regenerated the missing arm to 75% of the length of the other four arms. During this time period the lengths of the undamaged arms increased by ca. 50%. The implications of this study for using arm loss in starfish as an indicator of fishing disturbance are discussed.

Keywords

Fishing Regeneration Rate Parallel Study Commercial Fishing Fishing Gear 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Ramsay
    • 1
  • M. Bergmann
    • 2
  • L. O. Veale
    • 3
  • C. A. Richardson
    • 1
  • M. J. Kaiser
    • 1
  • S. J. Vize
    • 1
  • S. W. Feist
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales Bangor, Menai Bridge, Anglesey LL59 5EY, UKGB
  2. 2.University Marine Biological Station, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland KA28 0EG, UKGB
  3. 3.Port Erin Marine Laboratory, University of Liverpool, Port Erin, Isle of Man IM9 6JA, UKGB
  4. 4.The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Weymouth Laboratory, Barrack Road, The Nothe, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 8UB, UKGB

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