Food availability before aestivation governs growth and winter reproductive potential in the capital breeding fish, Ammodytes japonicus
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Capital breeders develop gametes by using energy that was stored before the spawning season. Energy is allocated to growth and reproduction, and limited food availability affects the balance of energy allocation, especially in fish that mature within a year, such as western sand lance (Ammodytes japonicus). This species aestivates without feeding until winter spawning and utilize energy stores that were accumulated prior to aestivation for maturation and spawning. This study aimed to evaluate the growth, energy storage, maturation rate, and reproduction of A. japonicus in response to food availability before aestivation. We conducted laboratory experiments in which young-of-the-year A. japonicus were fed at rates of 4% and 1% of their body weight per day; assigned as high and low ration groups, respectively. In June, body length was found to be significantly larger in the high ration group than in the low ration group, but the somatic condition did not differ significantly between the
groups. Maturation rates and average fecundities were 1.0 and 6297 in the high ration group and 0.8 and 2251 in the low ration group, respectively. These results indicate that food availability before aestivation strongly governs the reproductive potential of A. japonicus, and suggest the involvement of mechanisms in the inter-annual recruitment variation in sand lance species.
This work was partly supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-13) granted by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan (https://www.emecs.or.jp/s-13/en/).
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© 2019 Kuzuhara et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.