Reproduction of Joturus pichardi and Agonostomus monticola (Mugiliformes: Mugilidae) in rivers of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. The freshwater mugilids Joturus pichardi and Agonostomus monticola, have been documented on ecological and distribution aspects, mainly for Central American populations, nevertheless, little information is available on their reproductive aspects, specifically in Colombian freshwater environments. Reproductive biology of the mugilids J. pichardi and A. monticola from Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (SNSM) rivers was studied between July 2005 and December 2006. A total of 14 specimens of J. pichardi and 320 of A. monticola were collected. The reproductive biology was analyzed by means of: sexual proportion, gonadosomatic index, and mean size at maturity, fecundity and oocyte diameter. Additionally, a bioassay was carried out to evaluate the effect of salinity on spermatic motility and its possible relationship with the species’ spawning area. These mugilids share habitats with similar ecological characteristics, in which strong currents; clear water and stony areas stand out. Gonadal maturity indicators and indirect evidence are presented to support the relationship between reproductive maturity and higher rainfall levels in the area (September, October and November), as well as the catadromous migration of J. pichardi and A. monticola. This last species females outnumbered males with a sex ratio of 2.3:1. Females mean size at maturity was 172mm of their total length (TL) and 108mm TL for males. Fecundity (F) was 23 925±4 581 eggs per gram of gonad, and was related to size by the equation F=395.1TL1.281; besides, the mean oocyte diameter was 362±40µm. Considering the salinity effect on sperm motility in both species, results suggested that J. pichardi spawned in estuarine environments but the species did not migrate to fully marine environments; however, A. monticola withstood a broad range of salinity, suggesting a spawning from intermediate to total saline environments. Both species have high culturing potentials, considering that their feeding is based on plant and macroinvertebrates, their meat quality and the size they are able to reach. These species represent an interesting resource to the fisher groups of the region and should be integrally assessed.
Keywords: Mugilids, Joturus pichardi, Agonostomus monticola, reproductive biology, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.