Temporal evolution of the gonad index of the sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus (Echinoida: Echinidae) and Diadema africanum (Diadematoida: Diadematidae) in the Canary Islands (Spain).
There are three main species of regular sea urchins in the Canary Islands. To establish the optimal fishing seasons for two of them, we studied the evolution of the gonadal index in several years and locations, of Paracentrotus lividus (April 2006 to March 2008 on Tenerife island in two locations: Las Galletas and La Jaca and from April 2006 to January 2009 in Gran Canaria island in two locations: Ojos de Garza and Gando), and Diadema africanum (January 2010 to May 2011 on Gran Canaria island in three locations: Risco Verde, Arguineguin and Agaete). In the case of P. lividus, located on the southern edge of their distribution, the presence of several annual maximum gonadal indez peak was observed, probably related to the temperature. These times of gonadal index increases corresponded to the stages of maturation. The main period of maturity coincided with the fall and early winter (August, October and December). There was sporadic emissions of gametes depending on location, in April, during the summer (June, July or August), autumn (September or October) and winter (December, January or February). This fragmented situation is possibly due to exposure to the hydrodynamic area’s and food abundance. The maximum presence of D. africanum occurred in the months of May to June, with virtually no variations throughout the year, in the southernmost locality (Arguineguin). In conclusion, the two species of sea urchins would be complementary shellfish resources, as their periods of maximum GI (Gonadal Index, capture time) do not overlap during the year.