, Volume 673, Issue 1, pp 245–257 | Cite as

Analysis of the reproductive strategy of Jenynsia multidentata (Cyprinodontiformes, Anablepidae) with focus on sexual differences in growth, size, and abundance

  • G. GoyenolaEmail author
  • C. Iglesias
  • N. Mazzeo
  • E. Jeppesen
Primary Research Paper


Jenynsia multidentata is one of the most abundant freshwater fishes in the subtropical region of South America and when abundant it appears to have a major impact on lake ecosystems function. We studied the life-history traits and population structure of J. multidentata in a shallow lake in Uruguay, and collected literature data along a subtropical to tropical freshwater gradient in South America. Our general focus was on reproductive strategy, particularly on sexual differences in growth, size and abundance. In Lake Blanca, we found strong reverse size dimorphism (RSD) and a feminized sex ratio. Both are attributed to sexual differences in growth patterns and longevity. RSD and a feminized sex ratio seem to characterise J. multidentata regardless of latitude, and together with other life traits such as small size, rapid growth, low age of maturity, the capacity of the females to keep sperm alive to fertilize several successive litters, high natural mortality and fertility, resistance to extreme environmental conditions and omnivory, they are indicative of high productivity to biomass ratio. The very high population growth rate helps to explain why fish removal, aiming to promote an increase in the zooplankton grazing pressure on phytoplankton, may not be a useful tool in eutrophic-turbid subtropical South American lakes. We also found that the duration of the breeding season deviated markedly with latitude, increasing towards the tropics, which may have major consequences for population growth rates and differential impact of this species on lake ecosystems in the different climate zones.


Reproductive strategy Reversed size dimorphism Feminized sex ratio Growth Río de la Plata one-sided livebearer 



We warmly thank E. Rodó for her outstanding work in the field. We also thank Anne Mette Poulsen for editorial assistance. We are very grateful to C. Boné, A. M. Frizzera, A. Henderson and E. Castiglioni for assisting in the construction of sampling equipment, and to G. Beyhaut, C. Bruzzone, C. Crisci, T. dos Santos, C. Fosalba, V. Pérez, M. Puppo and her family, and the technical staff of Aguas de la Costa, for field assistance. We are grateful to the Vilar del Valle family for lending us their summer house during the sampling periods. This study was partly funded by PEDECIBA and Maestría en Ciencias Ambientales (Uruguay) and was supported by Aguas de la Costa S.A. CI was supported by a PhD grant from Aarhus University and EJ by CLEAR (a Villum Kann Rasmussen Centre of Excellence project), REFRESH and WISER (both EU FP7 research projects), CRES and the Research Council for Nature and Universe (272-08-0406). CI and NM were supported by SNI.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Goyenola
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Iglesias
    • 1
  • N. Mazzeo
    • 1
  • E. Jeppesen
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Ecología y Rehabilitación de Sistemas Acuáticos, Departamento de Ecología y Evolución, Centro Universitario Regional Este/Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de la RepúblicaMaldonadoUruguay
  2. 2.National Environmental Research InstituteAarhus UniversitySilkeborgDenmark
  3. 3.Greenland Climate Research Centre (GCRC)Greenland Institute of Natural ResourcesNuukGreenland
  4. 4.Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research (SDC)BeijingChina

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