Reproduction and larval growth of Harpagifer antarcticus Nybelin (Pisces, Notothenioidei)

The spiny plunder-fish, Harpagifer antarcticus, is a common shallow-water demersal species distributed along the southern limb of the Scotia Arc. A year round study was made of its reproductive biology at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, for comparison with populations from the Antarctic Peninsula and with H. georgianus at South Georgia. Adult H. antarcticus inhabit rubble substrata and spawn 300–1500 eggs into a nest during May/July. The nest is guarded by both male and female fish during an incubation period of up to 150 days. After hatching during November/December the larvae grow at a rate of 0.082 mm d−1 (summer), 0.049 mm d−1 (winter) and 0.067 mm d−1 (annual), calculated from a time-series of samples collected from the field. This rate of growth is slow even among Antarctic species but is similar to the closely related species H. georgianus. Adult male and female H. antarcticus at the South Orkney Islands attain a maximum standard length of 88 mm and 85 mm respectively.


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Authors: White, M.G., Burren, P.J.

1 December, 1992
Antarctic Science / 4
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