Biology and ecology of Nezumia liolepis and N. stelgidolepis from the west coast of North America


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Nezumia liolepis and Nezumia stelgidolepis were collected during a National Marine Fisheries Service 1997 groundfish survey along the Pacific coast of North America. Bottom trawling was conducted from 188 to 1260 m depths. Nezumia liolepis were collected from 581 to 1247 m (3·4–5·7°C) and N. stelgidolepis from 285 to 555 m (6·0–8·4°C). The two species had distinct depth and temperature distributions and the majority of the specimens for each species came from narrow depth ranges. Nezumia stelgidolepis attains a larger pre-anal fin length (117 mm) than N. liolepis (83 mm), and age estimates from otolith ring counts indicate ages from 3 to 9 years for N. liolepis and 7 and 13 years for N. stelgidolepis from specimens collected. The gonads of N. liolepis were not reproductively active, and a single N. stelgidolepis possessed eggs of various sizes suggesting batch spawning. N. liolepis and N. stelgidolepis fed benthically, primarily on crustaceans such as amphipods, shrimp, mysids and polychaete worms. Although diet overlap was high, these two species appear to limit competition for resources by habitat separation.