Defining length-at-metamorphosis in fishes: a multi-character approach

Abstract

The present study attempts to highlight the value of multi-character approaches for defining thresholds in fish ontogeny, like the onset of the juvenile period. We developed techniques to objectively define the transition from larval to juvenile development using morphometric as well as morphological characters and exemplify the multi-character approach on newly settled white sea-breams (Diplodus sargus sargus) collected from the eastern Mediterranean. The morphometric analysis was based on principles of multivariate allometry whereas the analysis of morphology, on assigning a suite of selected characters (here related to external morphology and osteological development) into larval, transforming and juvenile states. The size-at-change in multivariate allometric growth (L m) is considered here to denote mean length-at-metamorphosis. An almost perfect match is demonstrated between L m (‘multivariate morphometry’) and mean size-at-morphological change (‘multivariate morphology’) in white sea-bream.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the European Social Fund (ESF), Operational Program for Educational and Vocational Training II (EPEAEK II), and particularly the Program PYTHAGORAS II, for funding this work. The authors thank E. Schismenou, Dr. S. Isari and Dr. A. Ramfos for their assistance in field sampling and laboratory analysis, and E. Georgakopoulou for her help with fish staining. Acknowledgements are also given to Dr. U. Sommer and two other anonymous referees for valuable comments regarding this manuscript. This study fully complies with the current laws of Greece.

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Correspondence to Stylianos Somarakis.

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Communicated by D. Goulet.

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Nikolioudakis, N., Koumoundouros, G., Kiparissis, S. et al. Defining length-at-metamorphosis in fishes: a multi-character approach. Mar Biol 157, 991–1001 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-009-1379-7

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Keywords

  • Standard Length
  • Morphometric Character
  • Allometric Growth
  • Oblique Orientation
  • Juvenile Development