Reproductive biology of the mosquitofish in a permanent natural lagoon in south-west Spain: two tactics for one species

Authors

  • C. Fernández-Delgado,

    1. Zoology Section, Department of Animal Biology, Sciences Faculty, University of Córdoba, San Alberto Magno Avenue, 14004 Córdoba, Spain
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  • S. Rossomanno

    1. Zoology Section, Department of Animal Biology, Sciences Faculty, University of Córdoba, San Alberto Magno Avenue, 14004 Córdoba, Spain
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Abstract

Introduced Gambusia holbrooki in a natural lagoon of southern Spain consisted of two age groups: 1992 cohort, 7-11 months old and 1993 cohort, <4 months old. In the 1992 cohort, females grew even during the gestation period at about 0·30 mm day-1. In the 1993 cohort, females displayed a high growth rate (0·55 mm day-1) and reached reproductive size in a few weeks, but stopped growing when they matured. All the 1992 cohort reproduced from mid-May to mid-June, but only 50% of the 1993 cohort reproduced, from mid-August to mid-September. Reproducing females were significantly larger in the 1992 cohort (39·8 mm) than in the 1993 one (34·8 mm). The largest 1992 females cohort had reproduced previously; the 1993 cohort had not. The mean dry weight of intra-ovarian embryos decreased to a minimum immediately before birth. These metabolic costs represented 29·8 and 31·4% of the initial weights of the 1992 and 1993 embryos, respectively. Mean dry weight of full-term embryo was significantly higher in the 1992 cohort (0·80 ± 0·129 mg; 95% CL) than in the 1993 one (0·70 ± 0·086 mg; 95% CL). With more females in 1992, cohort fecundity was considerably higher (number of embryos=7151; 63%) than in the 1993 (4193; 37%) cohort. The population completed two generations each year (spring and summer). The spring stock grew slower than the summer one but continued to grow during the gestation period, reaching larger final lengths, with more synchronous reproduction and clearer evidence of a second reproductive event. Each reproductive stock displayed its own life-history characteristics, with significant differences between mean length of reproducing females, growth rate, mean brood size, offspring size, standard fecundity and minimum length at reproduction.

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