Ontogenetic habitat shift of age-0 Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus on the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan: differences in timing of the shift among areas and potential effects on recruitment success

Abstract

Ontogenetic habitat shift and feeding habits in the shallow (< 15 m) and deep (30–80 m) habitats of age-0 Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus in Sendai Bay, the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan, were examined to understand the mechanisms that potentially enable area-specific high recruitment success. The flounder was able to use the shallow nursery habitat for about 1 year, until the next summer of their settlement (June–August) when they had reached 250 mm total length (TL). In addition, age-0 flounder between 150 and 250 mm TL used both shallow and deep habitats from winter to the next summer of their settlement, where species, size, and availability of potential food and susceptibility to predators are considerably different. These area-specific characteristics in Sendai Bay are clearly different from other areas around Japan that have been described in the literature: shorter residence in the shallow habitat and smaller size at emigration to the deep habitat. The characteristics in Sendai Bay seem to be enabled by prolonged good feeding conditions in the shallow habitat, which result from an abundant food supply and relatively lower temperature that does not exceed the uppermost temperature (25 °C) for maximum growth of the age-0 flounder. We consider that the prolonged better feeding conditions in the shallow habitat in the study area for ca. 1 year after settlement contribute to higher recruitment success.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Teruaki Yagi, Tsuyoshi Tamate, Yukinori Nakane, Hiroyuki Togashi, Takahiro Yamaguchi, Yosuke Amano, and Shigeho Kakehi for their assistance in field surveys and laboratory work. Satoshi Kadowaki kindly provided the data of vertical profile of coastal temperature which were observed monthly by Tottori prefecture. Comments from Tetsuya Takatsu, Takeshi Tomiyama, and three anonymous reviewers helped to improve the manuscript. A part of this study was supported by a study program, the Coastal Ecosystem Complex (CEC), of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan; the CREST program of the Japan Science and Technology Agency; and the Stock Assessment Program of the Fisheries Research and Education Agency of Japan and Fisheries Agency.

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Correspondence to Yutaka Kurita.

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This article is sponsored by the coastal ecosystem complex project of the ocean resource use promotion technology development program, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.

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Kurita, Y., Okazaki, Y. & Yamashita, Y. Ontogenetic habitat shift of age-0 Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus on the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan: differences in timing of the shift among areas and potential effects on recruitment success. Fish Sci 84, 173–187 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12562-018-1180-y

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Keywords

  • Age-0
  • Feeding habits
  • Ontogenetic habitat shift
  • Paralichthys olivaceus
  • Prey abundance
  • Recruitment success
  • Temperature