Maturation process and reproductive biology of female Arabesque greenling Pleurogrammus azonus in the Sea of Japan, off the west coast of Hokkaido


The sexual maturation process and reproductive biology of female Arabesque greenling Pleurogrammus azonus in the Sea of Japan, off the west coast of Hokkaido, was examined using histological observations of ovaries. Maturation of P. azonus was classified into seven phases based on the presence of nine oocyte stages, post ovulatory follicles, and residual unspawned ova. Although vitellogenesis of P. azonus begins annually in August, hydrated oocytes were present in September and likely occurred several times during the spawning season until November. However, few oocytes at the intermediate stages of development were found during the premature and spawning phases. Based on these observations, the maturation pattern of female P. azonus can be classified as “group-synchronous, spawning several batches in a single spawning season,” as in other hexagrammid fish. The probability of maturation of female P. azonus depended on body size rather than age. The estimated length at 50 % maturity was approximately 240 mm in standard length (SL). The mean SL of age-1 females just before the spawning season varied yearly around the 50 % maturity length. Overall, these findings suggest that the growth of female P. azonus before the spawning season at age 1 year can markedly affect spawning biomass.

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We thank Y. Takagi and Y. Sakurai at the Faculty of Fisheries Sciences of Hokkaido University; T. Nagao of the Suttsu-cho Fisherman’s Cooperative; the staff of the Otaru Offshore Fisherman’s Cooperative; the captain, officers, and crew of the RV Oyashio-Maru; and K. Itaya, M. Mitsuhashi, K. Maeda, and other scientists at the Hokkaido Fisheries Research Institute for their cooperation and valuable advice. In addition, we express thanks to an editor and anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments on the manuscript. This study was supported in part by the Fisheries Agency of Japan under the project “Assessment of Fisheries Stocks in the Waters around Japan.”

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Correspondence to Takahiro Takashima.

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Takashima, T., Okada, N., Asami, H. et al. Maturation process and reproductive biology of female Arabesque greenling Pleurogrammus azonus in the Sea of Japan, off the west coast of Hokkaido. Fish Sci 82, 225–240 (2016).

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  • Arabesque greenling
  • Hexagrammidae
  • Histological observation
  • Maturation
  • Oocyte
  • Pleurogrammus azonus
  • Size at maturity