Ichthyological Research

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 349–355 | Cite as

Reproduction and early development of a freshwater pipefish Microphis leiaspis in Okinawa-jima Island, Japan

  • Taiki Ishihara
  • Katsunori Tachihara
Full Paper


We investigated the size at maturation, breeding season, and morphological development of larvae and juveniles of a freshwater pipefish Microphis leiaspis, which belongs to Gastrophori, collected from three rivers on the northern part of Okinawa-jima Island, Japan. The minimum size of brooding males was 105–123 mm in standard length (SL). The smallest mature female was estimated to be ca. 130 mm SL from the analysis of gonadosomatic index (GSI) and histological observations of gonads. The breeding season was estimated to be from June to December according to monthly changes in female GSI, histological observations of gonads, and monthly changes in the occurrence of brooding males. The number of eggs in the male brood pouch ranged from 75 to 241 (mean ± SD: 152 ± 52, n = 22). The male releases newly hatched larvae in freshwater areas. After newborns grow in the sea, they return to freshwater areas of the rivers and attain maturity. Microphis leiaspis was conformed to have an amphidromous life history. Notochord length of the released larvae was 6.1 mm, with a well-developed finfold. Larvae attained 11.1 mm SL, formation of the caudal and dorsal fin rays was complete, and the caudal fin became lozenge shaped at 30 days after the release, and juveniles reached 36.0 mm SL at 63 days after release. In the period between 30 and 63 days after the release, formation of all fins except the pectoral fins was completed, and caudal fin rays were extended and sector shaped with deep slits between each fin ray. The morphology of the released larvae of M. leiaspis is similar to that of Gastrophori species, and the morphology of juveniles similar to other species of Microphis.


Microphis leiaspis Amphidromy Larva Breeding season 



The authors are grateful to Emeritus Professor S. Shokita, Associate Professor T. Yoshino, and Assistant Professor H. Shikatani (Faculty of Sciences, University of the Ryukyus), for their kind support. We appreciate to K. Maeda and Y. Mizuno (University of the Ryukyus) for useful information on larval occurrence. We thank the members of the Laboratory of Fisheries Biology and Coral Reef Studies (University of the Ryukyus) and the members of the University of the Ryukyus Diving Club for their help with fish collection and for providing information. The authors also thank Assistant Professor J.D. Reimer (University of the Ryukyus) for critical comments on the early draft manuscript and great help with the English. This study was partially supported by the 21st Century COE Program of the University of the Ryukyus.


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Engineering and ScienceUniversity of the RyukyusOkinawaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Fisheries Biology and Coral Reef Studies, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of the RyukyusOkinawaJapan

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