Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 221–229 | Cite as

Seamounts, New Moon and eel Spawning: The Search for the Spawning Site of the Japanese eel

  • Katsumi Tsukamoto
  • Tsuguo Otake
  • Noritaka Mochioka
  • Tae-Won Lee
  • Hans Fricke
  • Tadashi Inagaki
  • Jun Aoyama
  • Satoshi Ishikawa
  • Shingo Kimura
  • Michael J. Miller
  • Hiroshi Hasumoto
  • Machiko Oya
  • Yuzuru Suzuki
Article

Abstract

After analyzing all the collection data for larvae of the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica, in the western North Pacific, we found that the spawning site of this species appears to be near three seamounts in the West Mariana Ridge, 2000–3000 km away from their freshwater habitats. These seamounts are located in the westward flow of the North Equatorial Current and are hypothesized to provide cues for migrating silver eels and to serve as possible aggregation sites for spawning. Back-calculated birth dates based on otolith microstructure of leptocephali indicate that the Japanese eel does not spawn continuously during the long spawning season from April to November, but is synchronized to spawn periodically once a month during new moon. This lunar periodicity of spawning and the seamount spawning hypothesis are new developments in the millennium-old mystery of eel spawning that has fascinated naturalists since the time of Aristotle.

catadromous migration lunar cycle synchrony 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katsumi Tsukamoto
    • 1
  • Tsuguo Otake
    • 2
  • Noritaka Mochioka
    • 3
  • Tae-Won Lee
    • 4
  • Hans Fricke
    • 5
  • Tadashi Inagaki
    • 1
  • Jun Aoyama
    • 1
  • Satoshi Ishikawa
    • 1
  • Shingo Kimura
    • 1
  • Michael J. Miller
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Hasumoto
    • 1
  • Machiko Oya
    • 1
  • Yuzuru Suzuki
    • 6
  1. 1.Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoNakano-ku, TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of BioresourcesMie UniversityTsu, MieJapan
  3. 3.Department of Animal and Marine Bioresource Science, Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental ScienceKyushu UniversityHigashi-ku, FukuokaJapan
  4. 4.Department of OceanographyChungnam National UniversityYusong, TaejonKorea
  5. 5.Max-Planck-Institute of Animal Behaviour and PhysiologySeewiesenGermany
  6. 6.Fisheries Experimental Station, Graduate School of Agricultural Life ScienceThe University of TokyoHamana-gun, Shizuoka Pref.Japan

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