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