Polar Biology

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 1229–1245 | Cite as

Life cycle, distribution and trophodynamics of the lanternfish Krefftichthys anderssoni (Lönnberg, 1905) in the Scotia Sea

  • Sílvia LourençoEmail author
  • Ryan A. Saunders
  • Martin Collins
  • Rachel Shreeve
  • Carlos A. Assis
  • Mark Belchier
  • Jonathan L. Watkins
  • José C. Xavier
Original Paper


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.


Southern Ocean Myctophids Distribution Trophic ecology 



The authors wish to thank the Portuguese bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos which sponsored the first author with a scholarship, and the three anonymous reviewers whose comments helped to largely improve this manuscript. This work was conducted as part of the British Antarctic Survey’s Ecosystem programme, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, and the projects PTDC/BIA-BDE/64539/2006 and POLAR, supported by the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation, FCT. S. Lourenço is supported by ARDITI (Regional Agency for Development of Research, Technology and Innovation of Madeira) (S.L. Grant No. 002243/2013/13). J Xavier is supported by the Investigador FCT programme (IF/00616/2013) and this study benefited from the strategic programme of MARE, financed by FCT (MARE-UID/MAR/04292/2013). G. Stowasser and E. Foster assisted with the processing of fish samples and stomach contents.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sílvia Lourenço
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 7
    Email author
  • Ryan A. Saunders
    • 4
  • Martin Collins
    • 5
  • Rachel Shreeve
    • 4
  • Carlos A. Assis
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Mark Belchier
    • 4
  • Jonathan L. Watkins
    • 4
  • José C. Xavier
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento das Ciências da Vida, MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences CentreUniversidade de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences CentreFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Centro de Maricultura da CalhetaDivisão de Serviços de Investigação da Direção Regional das Pescas e Aquacultura da RAMCalhetaPortugal
  4. 4.British Antarctic SurveyNERCCambridgeUK
  5. 5.Institute of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  6. 6.Departamento de Biologia AnimalFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  7. 7.CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental ResearchTerminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de LeixoesPortoPortugal

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