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New data on biology of the pearlfish Maurolicus imperatorius (Sternopthychidae) from the Emperor Seamount Chain


The pearlfish Maurolicus imperatorius occurs above seamounts of the Emperor Seamount Chain between 30°–40° N and 168°–176° E. It forms dense aggregations at the daytime in the upper mesopelagial above the ground and disperses in the dark period of the day in the surficial layer. Judged by maturation dynamics of gonads, the spawning of this species occurs from January until April with the maximum in March. Catches of this species are characterized by expressed seasonal dynamics of size composition. Juveniles appear in catches in the end of spring-the beginning of summer. The maximum recorded SL is 68 mm. Among large fish, females dominate. The part of females is maximum in winter and minimum in spring. The age of fish with AC 46–63 mm is 265–420 days. The growth rate is abruptly retarded at the fourth month of life when the length 40–45 mm is attained. Life duration of most fish does not exceed 1.5 years, though some specimens may attain the age of two years. It is supposed that the presence of another species—M. japonicus—on the Emperor Seamount Chain may result from passive transfer in the Kuroshio waters.

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Correspondence to V. F. Savinykh.

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Original Russian Text © V.F. Savinykh, A.A. Baytalyuk, 2010, published in Voprosy Ikhtiologii, 2010, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 191–201.

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Savinykh, V.F., Baytalyuk, A.A. New data on biology of the pearlfish Maurolicus imperatorius (Sternopthychidae) from the Emperor Seamount Chain. J. Ichthyol. 50, 148–158 (2010).

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Key words

  • pearlfish
  • Maurolicus
  • distribution
  • size
  • spawning
  • otoliths
  • age
  • growth
  • diet