Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 91, Issue 3, pp 295–301 | Cite as

Life span, growth and mortality in the western Pacific goby Trimma benjamini, and comparisons with T. nasa

  • Richard WinterbottomEmail author
  • Karen M. Alofs
  • Alexandra Marseu


Examination of daily increment rings in the saccular otoliths of 91 specimens of the small goby, Trimma benjamini, reveal a maximum age of 140 days with an average pelagic larval duration of 33.9 ± 4.3 days (SD), or 24.2% of the maximum lifespan. Estimates of daily mortality rate ranged from 2.9% to 6.3%. Comparisons of these results with those for T. nasa suggest that 1) the growth rate of T. benjamini males does not decrease with age as it does for T. nasa; 2) T. benjamini has a longer lifespan and lower daily mortality rate than T. nasa; and 3) T. nasa has a faster growth rate than T. benjamini. These results reinforce the potentially important role of small, planktivorous, outer reef fishes in reef trophodynamics, as well as highlight the need for further research on small reef fishes.


Life history Gobiidae Trimma benjamini Otoliths Pelagic larval duration Age Growth Mortality Cryptobenthic fishes 



Sincerest thanks to the seven other members of the “fish” team that helped to collect the specimens used here, and especially to Mark Westneat (Field Museum, Chicago) and Pat and Lori Colin (Coral Reef Research Centre, Palau), whose financial contributions to the expedition were essential to its realization. Once again, Claire Healy (ROM) generously allowed us almost unlimited access to her compound microscope. Our grateful thanks to Laura Southcott (Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia) for her very useful comments and insights on the draft manuscript. The fieldwork was financially supported by the ROM Foundation, the ROM’s Department of Natural History, NSERC Discovery Grant 7619, an NSERC Ship Time grant, and a grant from The Nature Conservancy (all to RW—my deep gratitude to all these agencies and their officers for making this expedition possible).


  1. Ackerman JL, Bellwood DR (2000) Reef fish assemblages: a re-evaluation using enclosed rotenone stations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 206:227–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Choat JH, Robertson DR (2002) Age-based studies. In: Sale PF (ed) Coral reef fishes: dynamics and diversity in a complex ecosystem. Academic, San Diego, pp 57–80Google Scholar
  3. Depczynski M, Bellwood DR (2005) Shortest recorded vertebrate lifespan found in a coral reef fish. Curr Biol R288–289Google Scholar
  4. Depczynski M, Bellwood DR (2006) Extremes, plasticity, and invariance in vertebrate life history traits: insights from coral reef fishes. Ecol 87:3119–3127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Depczynski M, Fulton CJ, Marnane MJ, Bellwood DR (2007) Life history patterns shape energy allocation among fishes on coral reefs. Oecol 153:111–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Heincke F (1913) Investigations on the plaice. Rapp P V Réun Cons Explor Mer 17(A):1–153Google Scholar
  7. Hernaman V, Munday PL (2005) Life history characteristics of coral reef gobies I. Growth and lifespan. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 290:207–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hernaman V, Munday PL, Schläppy ML (2000) Validation of otolith growth-increment periodicity in tropical gobies. Mar Biol 137:715–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hoenig JM (1983) Empirical use of longevity data to estimate mortality rates. Fish Bull 82:898–903Google Scholar
  10. Iglesias M, Brothers EB, Morales-Nin B (1997) Validation of daily increment deposition in otoliths. Age and growth of Aphia minuta (Pisces: Gobiidae) from the northwest Mediterranean. Mar Biol 129:279–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kritzer JP (2002) Stock structure, mortality and growth of the decorated goby, Istigobius decoratus (Gobiidae), at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Environ Biol Fishes 63:211–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Longenecker K, Langston R (2005) Life history of the Hawaiian blackhead triplefin, Enneapterygius atriceps (Blennioidei, Tripterygiidae). Environ Biol Fishes 73:243–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Longenecker K, Langston R (2006) Life history characteristics of a small cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus rubrimacula (Percoidei: Apogonidae), from Koro, Fiji. Pac Sci 60:225–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McCormick MI (1998) Ontogeny of diet shifts by a microcarnivorous fish, Cheilodactylus spectabilis: relationship between feeding mechanics, microhabitat selection and growth. Mar Biol 132:9–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Miller PJ (1984) The tokology of gobioid fishes. In: Potts GW, Wootton RJ (eds) Fish reproduction: strategies and tactics. Academic, London, pp 120–153Google Scholar
  16. Munday PL, Jones GP (1998) The ecological implications of small body size among coral-reef fishes. Oceanogr Mar Biol Ann Rev 36:373–411Google Scholar
  17. Reznick D, Endler JA (1982) The impact of predation on life history evolution in Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Evol 36:160–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ricker WE (1975) Computation and interpretation of biological statistics of fish populations. Bull Fish Res Board Can 191:1–382Google Scholar
  19. Robson DS, Chapman DG (1961) Catch curves and mortality rates. Trans Am Fish Soc 90:181–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Saeki T, Sakai Y, Hashimoto H, Gushima K (2005) Foraging behaviour and diet composition of Trimma caudomaculata and Trimma caesiura (Gobiidae) on coral reefs in Okinawa, Japan. Ichthyol Res 52:302–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. SAS. 2003. SAS 9.1. The SAS Institute, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  22. Sunobe T (1995) Embryonic development and larvae of three gobiid fish, Trimma okinawae, Trimma grammistes and Trimmatom sp. Jpn J Ichthyol 42:11–16Google Scholar
  23. Sunobe T, Nakazono A (1990) Polygynous mating system of Trimma okinawae (Pisces: Gobiidae) at Kagoshima, Japan with a note on sex change. Ethol 84:133–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wilson DT, McCormick MI (1999) Microstructure of settlement-marks in the otoliths of tropical reef fishes. Mar Biol 134:29–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Winterbottom R, Southcott L (2008) Short lifespan and high mortality in the western Pacific coral reef goby Trimma nasa. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 366:203–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wittenrich ML, Turingan RG, Creswell RL (2007) Spawning, early development and first feeding in the gobiid fish Priolepis nocturna. Aquaculture 270:132–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Winterbottom
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen M. Alofs
    • 2
  • Alexandra Marseu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Natural HistoryRoyal Ontario MuseumTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations