Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Ecology and reproduction of Opsanus beta (Actinopterygii: Batrachoididae) in the Alvarado Lagoon, Veracruz, Mexico.
PDF (Español (España))
HTML (Español (España))


Opsanus beta
reproductive index
Opsanus beta
índices reproductivos

How to Cite

Franco López, J., Santes González, A. G., Abarca Arenas, L. G., Bedia Sánchez, C., Barrera Escorcia, H., Martínez Pérez, J. A., Peláez Rodríguez, E., & Viveros Legorreta, J. L. (2017). Ecology and reproduction of Opsanus beta (Actinopterygii: Batrachoididae) in the Alvarado Lagoon, Veracruz, Mexico. Revista De Biología Tropical, 65(4), 1381–1396.


Opsanus beta is a permanent species in the Alvarado Lagoon System (ALS), Veracruz, and eventhough it is not of economic importance, it might be actively involved in the energy transfer of the system. Currently, there is no information about the reproductive and ecological characteristics of this common fish, so this work aimed to evaluate those aspects, and to contribute with some ecological features. For this, a total of six sampling sites were selected and studied from April 2008 to December 2012. Per site, we determined fish seasonality, feeding, sex ratio, gonadosomatic index, hepatosomatic and condition factors for both sexes, as well as the fecundity and length-weight relationships. We also considered some environmental parameters such as temperature, water temperature, depth, salinity and pH. Our results on the environmental parameters analysis did not show significant differences for the study period; besides, salinity data confirmed an oligohaline environment, and the rest of the physico-chemical parameters, varied in accordance with the climatic pattern in the area. We captured a total of 519 fishes, 311 (59.9 %) males and 208 (41.1 %) females; the proportion of males resulted favorable against females throughout the study. The standard length found along the study period showed that the average was higher in males than in females. The trophic spectrum was composed of 13 food items, principally crustaceans, molluscs and fishes; in addition, cannibalism was observed over young individuals during March and April. The most advanced stages of gonadal maturation were recorded from November to March for males, and from November to February in females; generally, the Gonadosomatic index (IGS) recorded the highest values from November to April. The Hepatosomatic Index (IHS) and the Condition Factor (FC) presented an inverse relationship with the Gonadosomatic index (IGS). The fecundity of this species ranged from 96 to 428 oocytes per female. The weight-length relationship by sexes and seasons, showed a higher growth rate for males than for females, and an allometric growth type. The biological and ecological information of O. beta in ALS evidenced the importance of this species and its ecological role in the structure and dynamics of these aquatic communities. This species may be used as a model for future proposals dealing with the management and sustainable use of this ecosystem.
PDF (Español (España))
HTML (Español (España))


Arceo, C. D., Franco, L. J., Gretchen, L. W., & Chávez, L. R. (2004). Trophic comparison of two species of needlefish (Belonidae) in the Alvarado Lagoonal System, Veracruz, México. Gulf and Caribbean Research, 16, 81-88.

Bagenal, T. B. (Ed). (1978). Methods for assessment of fish production in freshwater. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific Publication.

Balon, E. K. (1975). Reproductive guilds of fishes: A proposal and definition. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, 32, 821-864.

Bisker, R., Gibbons, M., & Castagna, M. (1989). Predation by the oyster toadfish Opsanus tau (Linnaeus) on blue crabs and mud crabs, predators of the hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria (Linnaeus 1758). Journal of Shellfish Research, 8(1), 25-31.

Blaxter, J. H. S., & Hunter, J. R. (1982). The biology of clupeoid fishes. Advances in Marine Biology, 20, 3-194.

Breder, C. (1941). On the reproduction of Opsanus beta. Goode & Bean. Zoologica,l 26, 229-232.

Breder, C. M., & Rosen, D. E. (1966). Modes of reproduction in fishes. Neptune City, New Jersey: T. F. H. Publications.

Bulow, F. J., Zeman, M. E., Winningham, J. R., & Hudson, W. F. (1981). Seasonal variations in RNA-DNA ratios and in indicators of feeding, reproduction, energy storage, and condition in a population of bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque. Journal of Fish Biology, 18, 237-244.

Caires, R. A., Pichler, H. A., Spach, H. L., & Ignacio, J. M. (2007). Opsanus brasiliensis (Rotundo, Spinelli & Zavalla-Camin, 2005) (Teleostei: Batrachoidiformes: Batrachoididae), a junior synonym of Opsanus beta (Goode & Bean, 1880), with notes on its occurrence in the Brazilian coast. Biota Neotropica, 7(2), 135-140. Retrieved from

Canto-Maza, W. G., & Vega-Cendejas, M. E. (2007). Distribución, abundancia y preferencias alimenticias del pez sapo Opsanus phobetron (Batrachoididae) en la laguna costera de Chelem Yucatán, México. Revista de Biología Tropical, 55(3-4), 979-988.

Cathleen, B. (2005). Opsanus beta/Species Account. Florida, USA: Florida Museum of Natural History. Retrieved from

Chandler, C. R., Sanders, R. M. Jr., & Landry, A. M. Jr. (1985). Effects of three substrate variables on two artificial reef fish communities. Bulletin of Marine Science, 37, 129-142.

Cogliati, K. M., Danukarjanto, C., Pereira, A. C., Lau, M. J., Hassan, A., Mistakidis, A. F., … Balshine, S. (2015), Diet and cannibalism in plainfin midshipman Porichthys notatus. Journal of Fish Biology, 86, 1396-1415.

Collette, B., Aiken, K. A., & Polanco-Fernández, A. (2015). Opsanus beta. United Kingdom: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015. Retrieved from

Collette, B. B. (1974). A review of the coral Toadfishes of the genus Sanopus with descriptions of two new species from Cozumel island, Mexico. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 87(18), 185-204. Retrieved from

Collette, B. B., & Russo, J. L. (1981). A revision of the scaly toadfishes, genus Batrachoides, with descriptions of two new species from the Eastern Pacific. Bulletin of Marine Science, 31, 197-233.

Collins, A. L., & Anderson, T. A. (1995). The regulation of endogenous energy stores during starvation and refeeding in the somatic tissues of the golden perch. Journal of Fish Biology, 47, 1004-1015.

Contreras, E. F., & Warner, G. B. (2004). Ecosystem characteristics and management considerations for coastal wetlands in Mexico. Hydrobiologia, 511, 233-245.

Costanza, R., d´Arge, R., de Groot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., … van den Belt, M. (1997): The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature, 387(6630), 253-260

Cushing, D. H. (1975). Marine ecology and fisheries. Oxford, Great Britain: Cambridge University Press.

Dovel, W. (1960). Larval development of the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau. Chesapeake Science, 1, 187-195.

Le Cren, E. D. (1951). The length-weight relation and seasonal cycle in gonad weight and condition in the perch, Perca fluviatilis. Journal of Animal Ecology, 20(2), 201-219.

Franco-López, J., Abarca-Arenas, L. G., Silva-López, G., Valero-Pacheco, E., & Zamudio-Arciniega, R. (2012). Seasonal Analysis of the Ichthyofauna at tree subsystems of the Alvarado lagoon, Veracruz, Mexico. In D. Thangadurai, C. A. Busso, L. G. Abarca, & S. Jayabalan, (Eds.), Frontiers in Biodiversity Studies (pp. 213-240). New Delhi. India: I.K. International Publishing House, Pvt. Ltd.

Gallardo, T. A., Martinez, P. J., & Lezina, B. J. (2004). Reproductive structures and early life history of the gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta, in the Tecolutla Estuary, Veracruz, Mexico. Gulf and Caribbean Research, 16, 109-113.

Grabowski, J. H. (2004). Habitat complexity disrupts predator-prey interactions but not the trophic cascade on oyster reefs. Ecology, 85, 995-1004.

Jobling, M. (1995). Environmental biology of fishes. London, England: Chapman & Hall.

Keiti, N. J. (2013). Biologia reprodutiva e alimentar da espècie exòtica Opsanus beta (Teleostei: Batrachoididae) no complexo estuarino de Paranagùa, Paranà, Brasil (Tese de Mestre em Ecologia e Conservação). Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brasil.

Maddock, D. M., & Burton, M. P. M. (1999). Gross and histological observations of ovarían development and related condition changes in American plaice. Journal of Fish Biology, 53, 928-944.

Malca, E., Barimo, J. F., Serafy, J. E., & Walsh, P. J. (2009). Age and growth of the gulf toadfish Opsanus beta based on otolith increment analysis. Journal of Fish Biology, 75, 1750-1761.

McDermott, J. J. (1964). Food habits of the toadfish, Opsanus tau (L.) in New Jersey waters. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, 38, 64-71.

Morán, S. A., Martínez, F. L. A., Chávez, L. R., Franco, L. J., Bedia, S. C. M., Contreras, E. F., … & Peterson, M. S. (2005) Seasonal and spatial patterns in salinity, nutrients, and chlorophyll a in the Alvarado Lagoonal System, Veracruz, México. Gulf and Caribbean Research, 17(1), 133-143.

Newman, S. P., Gruber, S. H., & Handy, R. D. (2004), The scarecrow toadfish: habitat, abundance and size at maturity at Bimini, Bahamas. Journal of Fish Biology, 64, 248-252.

Nikolsky, G. V. (1963). The ecology of fishes. New York, USA: Academy Press.

Palazón, F. J. L., Arias, A. M., & Sarasquete, C. (2001). Aspects of the reproductive biology of the toadfish, Halobatrachus didactylus (Schneider, 1801) (Pisces: Batrachoididae). Scientia Marina, 65(2), 131-138.

Palmer, M. L., Deffenbaugh, M., & Mensinger, A. F. (2005). Sensitivity of the anterior lateral line to natural stimuli in the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau (Linnaeus). The Journal of Experimental Biology, 208, 3441-3450.

Pereira, T. J., Silva, G., Costa, M. J., & Costa, J. L. (2011). Life strategies of Halobatrachus didactylus (Bloch and Schneider, 1801) in the Tagus estuary: comparison among different morphotypes. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 93, 328-335

Price, N. N., & Mensinger, A. F. (1999). Predator–prey interactions of juvenile toadfish, Opsanus tau. The Biological Bulletin, 197, 246-247.

Ramos, H. M. (1997). Alvarado, Apuntes Históricos y Geográficos. México: Gobierno del Estado de Veracruz de la Llave.

Rodríguez, G. M. (1992). Técnicas de Evaluación Cuantitativa de la Madurez Gonádica en Peces. México: AGT Editores.

Roux, C. (1986). Batrachoididae. In P. J. P. Whitehead., M. L. Bauchot, J. C. Hureau & E. Tortonese (Eds.), Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean (pp. 1360-1361). Vol. III. Paris: UNESCO.

Santos, R. S., Hawkinis, S. J., & Nash, R. D. (1996). Reproductive phenology of the Azorean rock pool blenny a fish alternative mating tactics. Journal of Fish Biology, 48, 842-858.

Schwartz, F. J., & Dutcher, B. W. (1963). Age, growth, and food of the Oyster Toadfish near Solomons, Maryland. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 92, 170-173.

Smith, C. L. (1997). National Audubon Society field guide to tropical marine fishes of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. New York, USA: Alfred A. Knopf.

Swartz, R. C., & Van Engel, W. A. (1968). Length, Weight, and Girth Relations in the Toadfish, Opsanus tau. Chesapeake Science, 9, 249-253.

Tupper, M., & Boutilier, R. G. (1995). Effects of habitat on settlement, growth, and postsettlement survival of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 52, 1834-1841.

Walsh, P. J., Bedolla, C., & Mommsen, T. P. (1989). Scaling and sex-related differences in toadfish (Opsanus beta) sonic muscle enzyme activities. Bulletin of Marine Science, 45, 68-75.

Wilbur, C. G., & Robinson, P. F. (1960). The correlation of length, weight, and girth in the toadfish Opsanus tau. Chesapeake Science, 1(2), 122-123.

Wilson, C. A., Dean, J. M., & Radtke, R. (1982). Age, growth rate and feeding habits of the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau (Linnaeus) in South Carolina. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 62, 251-259.

Wood, E. J. F., Odum, W. E., & Zieman, J. C. (1969). Influence of sea grasses on the productivity of coastal lagoons. En A. A. Castañares & F. B. Phleger (Eds.), (1969) Coastal lagoons (pp. 495-502). México, D. F: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad universitaria.

Yáñez-Arancibia, A. (1978). Patrones ecológicos y variación cíclica de la estructura trófica de las comunidades nectónicas en lagunas costeras del Pacífico de México. Anales del Centro de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología-UNAM, 5(1), 287-306.

Zar, J. H. (2010). Biostatistical analysis. New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall.



Download data is not yet available.