Settlement of the wreckfish (Polyprion americanus)

TitleSettlement of the wreckfish (Polyprion americanus)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsMachias, A, Somarakis S, Papadroulakis N, Spedicato M-T, Suquet M, Lembo G, Divanach P
JournalMarine Biology
Volume142
Issue1
Pages45 - 52
Abstract

The wreckfish (Polyprion americanus) is a panoceanic, long-lived, deep-water demersal species, characterized by an extended pelagic juvenile phase associated with floating objects. In the present study morphometric data from 435 specimens collected from Greece (Crete), Italy (Ionian Sea) and the Atlantic coast of France from September 1999 to March 2001 were analyzed to estimate the settlement size of the species and associated changes in morphology. The fishery sample included specimens from both the pelagic and the demersal stage. Length-at-settlement (TL50) and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by fitting a logistic function. Eleven morphometric characters were analyzed, and the existing inflection points, reflecting alterations in body shape, were defined: (1) iteratively, as the transition point, splitting the data set into two groups, for which the reduced major axis functions, between a character and total length, of the successive groups best fit (minimum sum of squares of residuals) the combined data set and (2) where the second derivative of the fitted third-order polynomial functions to morphometric ratios equaled zero. The main size range within which wreckfish settled was 56-65 cm, and the means of the inflection points defined by the two methods were 61 and 64 cm. These results indicate changes in functional morphology associated with settlement. The monitoring of wreckfish juveniles caught in the wild and kept individually in captivity showed changes in growth and food intake at approximately the estimated settlement length and suggested that temperature was the most likely factor triggering settlement.

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