Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1091–1103 | Cite as

Oocyte size distribution reveals ovary development strategy, number and relative size of egg batches in lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus)

  • J. Kennedy
Original Paper


The reproductive biology of fishes impact many other components of their life history, and can influence their vulnerability to fisheries, therefore for more informed management, a good understanding is essential. For lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus), a semi-pelagic species found across the north-Atlantic and targeted by fishers for their roe, comprehensive knowledge of this aspect of their life history is still lacking. Through a combination of regular sampling from scientific surveys and fisheries and modern methodology in fish reproductive biology, we investigated the ovary development of lumpfish throughout vitellogenesis. The results showed that ovaries of lumpfish had a wide range of oocyte sizes and that lumpfish are a determinate, batch spawner with ovary development taking at least 8 months. They spawn a maximum of two batches per season with a similar number of eggs in each batch. Unusually for a determinate batch spawner, the two batches were easily distinguished within the ovary prior to ovulation. Average egg size ranged from between 2050 and 2500 µm, with larger fish having larger eggs, and the egg diameter of the second batch being on average 1.6% smaller than the first. Lumpfish were documented as spawning over a 4-month period, but it is likely that spawning occurs over a greater period. A macroscopic and oocyte size frequency distribution (OSFD) scale for lumpfish is presented which can be used for future studies of lumpfish.


Lumpsucker Maturation Oocyte Ovary development Roe fishery 



The author would like to thank all the crew and scientific personnel on the scientific surveys who collected the ovary samples. Halldór G. Ólafsson’s assistance in many logistical aspects was invaluable. I would also like to thank the fishermen who supplied us with fish and 3 anonymous referees who took the time to critically read and comment on the article. Appreciation goes to Linda Kristjánsdóttir and Herdís Steinsdóttir who assisted with the laboratory work, Jacob M. Kasper who captured the image of the immature lumpfish, and to Anders Thorsen who assisted with setting up the image analysis software. This work was funded by the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute and Biopol.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine and Freshwater Research InstituteReykjavíkIceland
  2. 2.BiopolSkagaströndIceland

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