Reproductive biology of two marine catfishes (Siluriformes, Ariidae) in the Sepetiba Bay, Brazil
Marine catfish are abundant in the Sepetiba Bay, a 305 km2 area in Southeast Brazilian coast (Lat. 22o54’-23o04’S; Long. 43o44’-44o10’W), but the knowledge on their biology is still scanty. The reproductive biology of Sciadeichthys luniscutis (Valenciennes 1840) and Genidens genidens (Valenciennes 1839) was studied through monthly sampling, from October 1998 to September 1999. Fishes were caught with a standardized otter trawl, in the interior of Sepetiba Bay, and near to the confluence with a major freshwater contributor. Six gonadal stages were described, based on macroscopic observations of gonad form, size, weight, color and oocyte diameter, and microscopic observations of differences in size and staining in the nucleus and cytoplasm structures, as viewed through a light microscope. Changes in the gonadosomatic index (GSI) and in stages of gonadal development showed what S. luniscutis spawned in Spring, while G. genidens spawned in Summer. Total spawning was shown for both species as indicated by high concentration of post-ovulatory follicles in spent stages. Fecundity was low (14-38 vitellogenic oocytes for S. luniscutis and 6-24 for G. genidens), when compared with other teleosts. Low fecundity and separation in spawning period suggest that both species are k-strategist, able to avoid interspecific competition in early stages of life cycle to optimize the use of the available niche.
Keywords: reproduction, spawning, fecundity, reproductive strategies, ariidae