Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 257–272 | Cite as

Reproductive Biology and Protandrous Hermaphroditism in Acanthopagrus latus

  • S. Alex Hesp
  • Ian C. Potter
  • Norman G. Hall


Detailed macroscopic and histological studies of the gonads of a full size and age range of Acanthopagrus latus from each season in Shark Bay, Western Australia, demonstrate that this species is a protandrous hermaphrodite in this large subtropical embayment. Although our scheme for the changes that occur in the ovotestes of A. latus during life is not consistent with some of the conclusions drawn for this species elsewhere, it is similar to that of Pollock (1985 J. Fish. Biol. 26: 301–311) for the congeneric Acanthopagrus australis. The ovotestes of males develop from gonads which contain substantial amounts of both testicular and ovarian tissue. The testicular component of the ovotestes of all males regresses markedly after spawning. During the next spawning season, the ovotestes either become gonads in which the testicular zone again predominates and contains spermatids and spermatozoa (functional males), or gonads in which the ovarian zone now predominates and contains mature oocytes (functional females). Once a fish has become a functional female, it remains a female throughout the rest of its life. In Shark Bay, A. latustypically spawns on a limited number of occasions during a short period in late winter and early spring and has determinate fecundity. The mean potential annual fecundity was ca. 2 000 000. The total length of 245 mm, at which, during the spawning period, 50% of A. latus become identifiable as males, is very similar to the current minimum legal length (MLL) of 250 mm, which corresponds to an age of ca. 2.5 years less than that at which 50% of males become females. Thus, although the spawning potential ratio suggests that the present fishing pressure is sustainable, the current MLL should be reviewed if recreational fishing pressure continues to increase.

gonadal changes spawning period fecundity spawning potential ratio 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Alex Hesp
    • 1
  • Ian C. Potter
    • 1
  • Norman G. Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, School of Biological Sciences and BiotechnologyMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia

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