Polar Biology

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 251–259 | Cite as

Spawning and early ontogenesis in channel bull blenny Cottoperca gobio (Notothenioidei, Perciformes) caught off the Falkland Islands and maintained in captivity

  • Alexander ArkhipkinEmail author
  • Elena Boucher
  • Paul Nicholas Howes
Original Paper


The channel bull blenny Cottoperca gobio (Notothenioidei, Perciformes) is the largest species of the family Bovichtidae that inhabits both the shelf and upper slope around the southern tip of South America. It is a common non-retained bycatch species during finfish bottom trawl fisheries on the Patagonian Shelf in the Southwest Atlantic. The present study aimed to address previously unknown aspects of its spawning, egg development and early larval growth by maintenance of adults in an aquaculture facility. The fish spawned in the beginning of austral spring (early September), adhering the eggs to the wall of the tank in a band of about 120 cm long, and 20–25 cm wide, estimated to contain ~170,000 eggs. Before and after spawning, the body colouration of both sexes changed displaying marked sexual dimorphism. The male did not guard the spawning site. Egg sizes varied between 2.1 and 2.4 mm. Eggs had a characteristic oil droplet inside. Embryogenesis lasted 50 days, constituting 305 accumulated degree-days. Newly hatched larvae were 7.8–8.1 mm total length, having the oil droplet inside their yolk sac. The yolk sac feeding period lasted approximately 9 days. Anterior part of the larval body was heavily pigmented such that pigmentation could be used for identification purposes. C. gobio occupied the very r-end of the r/K continuum among demersal notothenioid fish, characterised by high fecundities, small eggs and larvae, lack of parental care and high growth rates enabling it to populate the vast areas of the Patagonian Shelf whilst competing with other abundant large demersal fish predators.


Cottoperca gobio Bovichtidae Egg mass Embryogenesis Southwest Atlantic 



We are grateful to Dr M.-J. Roux and the scientific team of r/v Castelo for collecting and transporting live fish into the aquaculture facility. We thank Drs P. Brickle and P. Brewin (Shallow Marine Surveys Group, Stanley, Falkland Islands) for photographing live fish in the tank. Constructive comments of three anonymous reviewers improved the earlier version of the manuscript. We also thank the Director of Natural Resources John Barton for supporting this work.


  1. Arkhipkin A, Grzebielec R, Sirota AM, Remeslo AV, Polishchuk IA, Middleton DAJ (2004) The influence of seasonal environmental changes on ontogenetic migrations of the squid Loligo gahi on the Falkland shelf. Fish Oceanogr 13:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arkhipkin A, Brickle P, Laptikhovsky V, Winter A (2012) Dining hall at sea: feeding migrations of nektonic predators to the eastern Patagonian Shelf. J Fish Biol 81:882–902PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arkhipkin A, Jurgens E, Howes PN (2013) Spawning, egg development and early ontogenesis in rock cod Patagonotothen ramsayi (Regan, 1913) caught on the Patagonian Shelf and maintained in captivity. Polar Biol 36:1195–1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boltovskoy D (1999) South Atlantic zooplankton. Backhuys Publishers, LeidenGoogle Scholar
  5. Brickle P, Laptikhovsky V, Arkhipkin A (2005) Reproductive strategy of a primitive temperate notothenioid Eleginops maclovinus. J Fish Biol 66:1044–1059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brickle P, Laptikhovsky V, Arkhipkin A, Portela J (2006) Reproductive biology of Patagonotothen ramsayi (Regan, 1913) (Pisces: Nototheniidae) around the Falkland Islands. Polar Biol 29:570–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camus P, Duhamel G (1985) Ponte et développement embryonnaire de Notothenia rossi rossi (Richardson 1844), Nototheniidae des Iles Kerguelen. Cybium 9:283–293Google Scholar
  8. Coppes Petricorena ZL, Somero GN (2007) Biochemical adaptations of notothenioid fishes: comparisons between cold temperate South American and New Zealand species and Antarctic species. Comp Biochem Physiol (A) 147:799–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Daniels RA (1978) Nesting behaviour of Harpagafer bispinis in Arthur harbour, Antarctic Peninsula. J Fish Biol 12:465–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eastman JT (1993) Antarctic fish biology. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  11. Eastman JT (2005) The nature of the diversity of Antarctic fishes. Polar Biol 28:94–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eastman JT, McCune AR (2000) Fishes on the Antarctic continental shelf: evolution of a marine species flock? J Fish Biol 57(Suppl A):84–102Google Scholar
  13. Ekau W (1982) Biological investigations on Notothenia ramsayi Regan 1913 (Pisces, Notothenioidei, Nototheniidae). Arch Fish Wiss 33:43–68Google Scholar
  14. Evseenko SA, Kock K-H, Nevinsky MM (1995) Early live history of the Patagonian Toothfish, Dissostichus eleginoides (Smitt, 1898) in the Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean. Antarct Sci 7:221–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Falkland Islands Government (2013) Fisheries Department Fisheries Statistics, vol 17. FIG Fisheries Department, StanleyGoogle Scholar
  16. Hourigan TF, Radtke RL (1989) Reproduction of the Antarctic fish Nototheniops nudifrons. Mar Biol 100:277–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kellermann A (1990) Catalogue of early life stages of Antarctic notothenioid fish. Ber Polarforsch 67:45–136Google Scholar
  18. Kimmel CB, Ballard WW, Kimmel SR, Ullmann B, Schilling TF (1995) Stages of embryonic development of the zebrafish. Dev Dyn 203:253–310PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kock K-H (1989) Reproduction in fish around Elephant Island. Arch Fisch Wiss 39(Suppl 1):171–210Google Scholar
  20. Kock K-H (1992) Antarctic fish and fisheries. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  21. Kock K-H, Kellermann A (1991) Reproduction in Antarctic notothenioid fish. Antarct Sci 3:125–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. La Mesa M, Caputo V, Eastman JT (2010) Some reproductive traits of the Tristan klipfish, Bovichtus diacanthus (Carmichael 1819) (Notothenioidei: Bovichtidae) from Tristan da Cunha (South Atlantic). Polar Biol 33:337–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Laptikhovsky V, Arkhipkin A (2003) An impact of seasonal squid migrations and fishery on the feeding spectra of notothenioids Patagonotothen ramsayi and Cottoperca gobio around the Falkland Islands. J Appl Ichthyol 19:35–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Laptikhovsky V, Arkhipkin A, Brickle P (2006) Distribution and reproduction of the Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides Smitt around the Falkland Islands. J Fish Biol 68:849–861CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lecointre G, Bonillo C, Ozouf-Costaz C, Hureau JC (1997) Molecular evidence for the origins of Antarctic fishes: paraphyly of the Bovichtidae and no indication for the monophyly of the Notothenioidei (Teleostei). Polar Biol 18:193–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miller RG (1987) Origins and pathways possible for the fishes of the Antarctic Ocean. In: Kullander SO, Fernholm B (eds) Fifth Congress of European Ichthyologists Proceedings, Stockholm, 1985. Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, pp 373–380Google Scholar
  27. Nakamura I, Inada T, Takeda M, Hatanaka H (1986) Important fishes trawled off Patagonia. Japanese Marine Fisheries Resoures Research Center, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  28. Rae GA, Calvo J (1995) Fecundity and reproductive habits in Patagonotothen tessellata (Richardson, 1845) from the Beagle Channel, Argentina. Antarct Sci 7:235–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vanella FA, Fernández DA, Romero MC, Calvo J (2007) Changes in the fish fauna associated with a sub-Antarctic Macrocystis pyrifera kelp forest in response to canopy removal. Polar Biol 30:449–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. White MG, Burren PJ (1992) Reproduction and larval growth of Harpagifer antarcticus Nybelin (Pisces, Notothenioidei). Antarct Sci 4:421–430Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Arkhipkin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elena Boucher
    • 1
  • Paul Nicholas Howes
    • 2
  1. 1.Falkland Islands Government Fisheries DepartmentStanleyFalkland Islands
  2. 2.Falklands Fish Farming LimitedStanleyFalkland Islands

Personalised recommendations