Reproductive biology of Galaxias maculatus (Jenyns 1842) in the Río Ovando, a high-latitude environment in southernmost Patagonia, Argentina


Author’s address: Claudia Boy, Laboratorio de Ecofisiología, Centro Austral de, Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC) – CONICET, B. Houssay 200 (9410) Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.


This study establishes the reproductive cycle, batch fecundity and oocyte diameter of a diadromic population of the puyen, Galaxias maculatus, in the Río Ovando, Tierra del Fuego, (54°S), at the southernmost limit of its distribution. Given the short ‘favourable season’ in relation to other populations of the species (in terms of temperature, photoperiod and food availability), the study also explores the trade-offs between feeding and oocyte production and between phases of growth and reproduction. The reproductive cycle was analyzed by the monthly evolution of the proportion of gonadal maturity stages (determined from microscopic examination of the gonads). Oocytes were measured using a micrometric ocular scale and classified by diameter and morphological characteristics; absolute fecundity was established as the total number of hydrated oocytes per ovary. The studied population exhibits a repetitive spawning strategy, given the coexistence of post-ovullatory follicles and hydrated oocytes in histological sections and the presence in ripe ovaries of an intermediate cohort of yolked oocytes ready for hydration. Individual fecundity is lower (1422 ± 422 oocytes/ovary) than in other puyen populations, but the egg production increases through individual repetitive spawnings during the protracted spawning period (from October to February). Females attain larger sizes than those of other South American populations (the largest female reaching 115 mm total length), maximizing its potential fecundity. The present paper contributes to the knowledge of the variability of reproductive traits of G. maculatus in relation to diadromic populations, given that the bulk of information in South America refers to landlocked populations.