Life cycle, distribution and trophodynamics of the lanternfish Krefftichthys anderssoni (Lönnberg, 1905) in the Scotia Sea
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Myctophid fish play an important role in the Southern Ocean pelagic food web. The lanternfish Krefftichthys anderssoni is one of the most common myctophids in the region, but its ecology is poorly known. This study examines spatial and temporal patterns in the species distribution of density, life cycle, population structure and diet using samples collected by mid-water trawl nets deployed in different seasons across the Scotia Sea. Virtually absent from the sea-ice zone, the species was most abundant in the northern Scotia Sea around the Georgia Basin at depths below 400 m that are associated with the Circumpolar Deep Water. The species migrated during night from waters deeper than 700 m to waters above the 400 m following their main prey species: the copepods Rhincalanus gigas and Calanoides acutus and euphausiids of the Thysanoessa genus. Larvae length distribution and post-larvae length-frequency analyses suggested a life cycle of ~3 years with spawning and recruitment strongly connected with APF and the South Georgia shelf. Our results show that species spatial distribution, population structure and diet changed both seasonally and ontogenetically. This study is the most comprehensive examination of the ecology of K. anderssoni in the Southern Ocean to date and contributes to resolving how pelagic food webs and ecosystems operate in the region.