Ichthyological Research

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 423–432 | Cite as

Life history of the orange-striped emperor Lethrinus obsoletus from the Mariana Islands

  • Brett M. TaylorEmail author
  • Zack S. Oyafuso
  • Michael S. Trianni
Full Paper


The present study investigated the age-based demography of the orange-striped emperor, Lethrinus obsoletus, from commercial samples in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), spanning a 24-month market sampling period. Information on growth, life span, mortality, and reproduction was derived through analysis of sectioned sagittal otoliths and gonad material. The species had a moderate longevity of 13 years while females and males reached 50% sexual maturity at 3.8 years (22.9 cm fork length) and 2.8 years (19.9 cm fork length), respectively. Histological examination of gonads and sex-specific age frequency distributions suggest the sexual ontogeny of the species conforms to juvenile hermaphroditism, whereby sexual transition from female to male occurred prior to maturation. No annual spawning periods were identified, but the ubiquitous presence of post-ovulatory follicles in females and spermatogenic material in males coupled with a consistent lunar trend in gonadosomatic index patterns suggests the species spawns every lunar cycle throughout the year with spawning activity potentially increasing around the new moon. Ratios of natural to fishing mortality indicate a moderate level of exploitation (0.37); however, a large portion of harvested females had not reached reproductive maturity, suggesting that formal assessments of stock status are warranted to ensure the sustainable harvest of the species in CNMI.


Otolith Lethrinidae Maturation Demography Reproduction Micronesia 



The authors thank the CNMI Biosampling Team (J. Gourley, T. Dunn, T. Flores, P. Ito, G. Salas, S. Taitano, M. Tenorio) for their immense efforts and R. Humphreys, C. Boggs, and two anonymous reviewers for reviewing the developing manuscript. This study was funded in part by the National Marine Fisheries Service Biosampling Initiative and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Biosampling Project 6100328.


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brett M. Taylor
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zack S. Oyafuso
    • 2
  • Michael S. Trianni
    • 3
  1. 1.Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric ResearchUniversity of Hawaii and NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science CenterHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of HawaiiKaneoheUSA
  3. 3.National Marine Fisheries ServicePacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, CNMI Field OfficeSaipanUSA

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