Get access
Advertisement

Gonadal development in a giant threatened reef fish, the humphead wrasse Cheilinus undulatus, and its relationship to international trade

Authors

  • Y. Sadovy de Mitcheson,

    1. Swire Institute of Marine Science and Division of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. Liu,

    Corresponding author
    1. Swire Institute of Marine Science and Division of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Oceanography and Environmental Science, Xiamen University, 422 Siming Nanlu, Xiamen 361005, Fujian, China
      Tel.: +86 592 2181013; fax: +86 592 2184101; email: minliuxm@xmu.edu.cn
    Search for more papers by this author
  • S. Suharti

    1. Research Centre for Oceanography, Indonesia Institute of Sciences, Jakarta, Indonesia
    Search for more papers by this author

Tel.: +86 592 2181013; fax: +86 592 2184101; email: minliuxm@xmu.edu.cn

Abstract

An opportunity arose to obtain humphead wrasse Cheilinus undulatus specimens between 2006 and 2009 from Indonesia, the major source and exporting country of this species, making study on its early gonad development possible for the first time. Protogynous hermaphroditism, previously proposed for this species, was confirmed in this study. Based on histological examination of 178 specimens, mainly <500 mm total length (LT) and ranging from 208 to 1290 mm LT (119·1 g to 43·0 kg whole body mass), the minimum body sizes for female and male sexual maturation were determined to be 650 and 845 mm LT, respectively. Primary male development through juvenile sexual differentiation was not detected. A unique blind pouch, with a possible sperm storage function and associated with the testis, was reported for the first time in the Labridae. In Hong Kong retail markets, the global trading centre for this valuable species, live C. undulatus on sale for food were dominated by body sizes <500 mm LT between 1995 and 2009, reflecting an international trade largely focused on juveniles. In consideration of these findings, and given the threatened status of this species, management for C. undulatus capture and trade nationally and internationally are discussed with recommendations for ensuring sufficient spawning biomass in exploited populations and for sustainable trade.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary