Samples from sheltered nearshore waters in south-western Australia, in which Sillago schomburgkii spends its entire life cycle, have been used to determine the age structure, growth rate, age and length at first sexual maturity, and spawning period of this whiting species. Several S. schomburgkii reached four to seven years in age and one 12+ fish was caught. The respective maximum and asymptotic lengths (L∞) were 350 and 333 mm for females and 348 and 325 mm for males, while the growth coefficients (K) for females and males were 0.53 and 0.49, respectively. Sexual maturity was attained by both sexes of S. schomburgkii at ca. 200 mm, a length reached at the end of the second year of life. Monthly trends exhibited by gonadosomatic indices, the proportions of mature gonads and the prevalence of advanced oocytes and post-ovulatory follicles demonstrate that S. schomburgkii spawns predominantly from December to February. The presence of yolk vesicle and yolk granule oocytes and post-ovulatory follicles in the same ovaries during the spawning period, indicate that S. schomburgkii is a multiple spawner. The patterns of growth of the five Sillago species, that occur in south-western Australian marine waters, fall into two categories. The first, which consists of S. burrus and S. robusta, has a small L∞, i.e. < 190, and a high growth coefficient (K), i.e. ≥ 1.0, whereas the second, which comprises S. schomburgkii, S. vittata and S. bassensis, attain a larger size, i.e. L∞ > 00 mm, and has a low K, i.e. ≤ 0.5. The lengths and ages at maturity of S. schomburgkii, S. bassensis, S. burrus and S. robusta, as well as of S. analis and S. flindersi found elsewhere in Australia, are linearly related to their asymptotic lengths and maximum ages, respectively. The two smallest species, S. burrus and S. robusta, attain maturity at ca. 130 mm. However, the former species, whose juveniles occupy productive nearshore waters, grows rapidly and reaches this length by the end of the first year of life, whereas the latter species, which is restricted to deeper waters, grows more slowly and thus does not attain this length until a year later. Sillagoflindersi, which is slightly larger than S. burrus and S. robusta, migrates out into deeper waters and attains maturity at ca. 170 mm and two years of age. Although S. schomburgkii, S. analis and S. bassensis attain maturity at ca. 200 mm and reach similar lengths, the first two of these species, which remain in nearshore waters and display more rapid growth, reach maturity one year earlier than the last species, which migrates out into deeper and presumably less productive waters. While S. vittata reaches a similar size and likewise migrates out into deep waters, it reaches maturity earlier, i.e. at the end of its first year of life.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Ayvazian, S.G. & G.A. Hyndes. 1995. Surf-zone fish assemblages in south-western Australia: do adjacent nearshore habitats and the warm Leeuwin Current influence the characteristics of the fish fauna? Mar. Biol. 122: 527–536.
Baltz, D.M. 1984. Life history variation among female surfperches (Perciformes: Embiotocidae). Env. Biol. Fish. 10: 159–171.
Beverton, R.J.H. 1992. Patterns of reproductive strategy parameters in some marine teleost fishes. J. Fish Biol. 41(Supplement B): 137–160.
Blaber, S.J.M., D.T. Brewer & J.P. Salini. 1995. Fish communities and the nursery role of the shallow inshore waters of a tropical bay in the Gulf of Carpenteria, Australia. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Sci. 40: 177–193.
Brown, A.C. & A. McLachlan. 1990. Ecology of sandy shores. Elsevier, Amsterdam. 330 pp.
Burchmore, J.J., D.A. Pollard, M.J. Middleton, J.D. Bell & B.C. Pease. 1988. Biology of four species of whiting (Pisces: Sillaginidae) in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 39: 709–727.
Castro, L.R. & R.K. Cowan. 1991. Environmental factors affecting the early life history of bay anchovy Anchoa mitchilli in Great South Bay, New York. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 76: 235–247.
Cleland, K.W. 1947. Studies on the economic biology of the sand whiting (Sillago ciliata C. & V.). Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 72: 215–228.
Conover, D.O. 1990. The relation between capacity for growth and length of growing season: evidence for and implications of countergradient variation. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 119: 416–430.
Conover, D.O. 1992. Seasonality and the scheduling of life history at different latitudes. J. Fish Biol. 41: 161–178.
de Vlaming, V.L. 1983. Oocyte development patterns and hormonal involvements among teleosts. pp. 176–199. In: J. C. Rankin, T. J. Pitcher & R. T. Duggan (ed.) Control Processes in Fish Physiology, Croom Helm, Beckenham.
Dexter, D.M. 1984. Temporal and spatial variability in the community structure of the fauna of four sandy beaches in southeastern New South Wales. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 35: 663–672.
Gallucci, V.F. & T.J. Quinn. 1979. Reparameterizing, fitting and testing a simple growth model. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 108: 14–25.
Gunn, J.S. & N.E. Milward. 1985. The food, feeding habits and feeding structures of the whiting species Sillago sihama (Forsskäl) and Sillago analis Whitley from Townsville, North Queensland, Australia. J. Fish Biol. 26: 411–427.
Hyndes, G.A. & I.C. Potter. 1996. Comparisons between the age structures, growth and reproductive biology of two co-occurring sillaginids, Sillago robusta and Sillago basensis, in temperate coastal waters of Australia. J. Fish Biol. 49: 14–32.
Hyndes, G.A., I.C. Potter & R.C.J. Lenanton. 1996a. Habitat partitioning by whiting species (Sillaginidae) in coastal waters. Env. Biol. Fish. 45: 21–40.
Hyndes, G.A., I.C. Potter & S.A. Hesp. 1996b. Relationships between the movements, growth, age structures, and reproductive biology of the teleosts Sillago burrus and Sillago vittata in temperate marine waters. Mar. Biol. 126: 549–558.
Hyndes, G.A., M.E. Platell & I.C. Potter. 1997. Relationships between diet and body size, mouth morphology, habitat and movements of six sillaginid species in coastal waters: implications for resource partitioning. Mar. Biol. (in press).
Khoo, K.H. 1979. The histochemistry and endocrine control of vitellogenesis in goldfish ovaries. Can. J. Zool. 57: 617–626.
Kimura, D.K. 1980. Likelihood methods for the von Bertalanffy growth curve. U.S. Fish. Bull. 77: 765–776.
Laevastu, T. 1965. Manual of methods in fisheries biology. FAO, Rome. 51 pp.
Lasiak, T.A. 1986. Juveniles, food and the surf zone habitat: implications for teleost nursery areas. S. Afr. J. Zool. 21: 51–56.
Lenanton, R.C.J. 1970. The biology of the commercially fished whiting (Sillago spp.) in Shark Bay, Western Australia. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Western Australia, Perth. 160 pp.
Lenanton, R.C.J. 1982. Alternative non-estuarine nursery habitats for some commercially and recreationally important fish of south-western Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 33: 881–900.
Lenanton, R.C.J., A.I. Robertson & J.A. Hansen. 1982. Nearshore accumulations of detached macrophytes as nursery areas for fish. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 9: 51–57.
Maclean, J.L. 1971. The food and feeding of winter whiting (Sillago maculata Quoy and Gaimard) in Moreton Bay. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 98: 87–92.
McKay, R.J. 1992. Sillaginid fishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the Sillago, smelt or Indo-Pacific whiting species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis 125, Rome. 87 pp.
Modde, T. & S.T. Ross. 1981. Seasonality of fishes occupying a surf zone habitat in the northern Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Fish. Bull. 78: 911–922.
Morton, R.M. 1985. The reproductive biology of summer whiting, Sillago ciliata C. & V., in northern Moreton Bay, Queensland. Aust. Zool. 121: 491–502.
Robertson, A.I. 1977. Ecology of juvenile King George whiting Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier & Valenciennes) (Pisces: Perciformes) in Western Port, Victoria. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 28: 35–43.
Roff, D.A. 1981. Reproductive uncertainty and the evolution of iteroparity: why don't flatfish put all their eggs in one basket? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 38: 968–977.
Romer, G.S. 1990. Surf-zone fish community and species response to a wave energy gradient. J. Fish Biol. 36: 279–287.
Ruple, D.L. 1984. Occurrence of larval fishes in the surf zone of a northern Gulf of Mexico barrier island. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Sci. 18: 191–208.
Santos, R.S. & R.D.M. Nash. 1995. Seasonal changes in a sandy beach fish assemblage at Porto Pim, Faial, Azores. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Sci. 41: 579–591.
Vouglitois, J.J., K.W. Able, R.J. Kurtz & K.A. Tighe. 1987. Life history and population dynamics of the bay anchovy in New Jersey. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 116: 141–153.
Weng, H.T. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of whiting (Sillaginidae) in Moreton Bay, Queensland. J. Fish Biol. 29: 755–764.
Wootton, R.J. 1990. Ecology of teleost fishes. Chapman & Hall, London. 404 pp.
About this article
Cite this article
Hyndes, G.A., Potter, I.C. Age, growth and reproduction of Sillago schomburgkii in south-western Australian, nearshore waters and comparisons of life history styles of a suite of Sillago species. Environmental Biology of Fishes 49, 435–447 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007357410143
- life cycle
- surf zone
- nursery areas
- sexual maturation