Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 283–292 | Cite as

Life history of the nonnative convict cichlid Amatitlania nigrofasciata in the Haebaru Reservoir on Okinawa-jima Island, Japan

  • Tetsuroh IshikawaEmail author
  • Katsunori Tachihara


Life history parameters associated with reproductive biology, age, and growth of the convict cichlid (also known as the zebra cichlid) Amatitlania nigrofasciata, which was introduced into the Haebaru Reservoir on Okinawa-jima Island, were estimated using 437 specimens that ranged from 13.7 to 82.9 mm standard length (SL). Lengths of females at first maturity (SL) and 50% maturity (L 50) were estimated to be 32.2 and 37.3 mm SL, respectively. The spawning period continued throughout the year, with a peak spawning cycle from March to May 2006–2007. Observations of postovulatory follicles and tertiary yolk stage oocytes indicate that convict cichlids spawn multiple times within a year. Female cichlids that hatched during the peak spawning seasons matured after October of the same year. Batch fecundity of females (32.2–61.2 mm SL) ranged from 65 to 345 (mean ± SD = 155 ± 63). Opaque zones along the outer margins of otoliths formed annually. The maximum age of male and female cichlids was 3 years. The von Bertalanffy growth formulae (VBGF) were expressed as \( {{\hbox{L}}_{\rm{t}}}{ = 57}{.4}\left( {1 - {e^{ - 0.78\left( {t + 0.91} \right)}}} \right) \) for females and \( {{\hbox{L}}_{\rm{t}}}{ = 69}{.5}\left( {1 - {e^{ - 1.07\left( {t + 0.24} \right)}}} \right) \) for males. Males grew larger than females beginning from the first year. Certain life history characteristics, such as year-round spawning and early maturation, probably contributed to the successful establishment of the convict cichlid, and this species in particular is thought to adapt and become established quickly upon introduction to freshwater systems on Okinawa-jima Island.


Age Alien Length frequency Maturity Otolith Population structure 



We are grateful to all of the members of the Laboratory of Fisheries Biology & Coral Reef Studies and the Faculty of Science at the University of the Ryukyus for their support. We thank T. Shimose (National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries) for reviewing an earlier version of the manuscript. We are also grateful to five anonymous referees for providing insightful comments to improve the manuscript. This study was supported by a grant from the Japanese Fisheries Agency, a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (No. 15580169), and the 21st Century COE program of the University of the Ryukyus.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Fisheries Biology & Coral Reef Studies, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of the RyukyusSenbaru I, NishiharaJapan
  2. 2.Okinawa Environmental Science Laboratories Co., Ltd.GinowanJapan

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