Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria 46(4): 313-323, doi: 10.3750/AIP2016.46.4.05
Reproductive characteristics of northern pike, Esox lucius (Actinopterygii: Esociformes: Esocidae), in the Anzali Wetland, southwest Caspian Sea
expand article infoM. Moslemi-Aqdam, J. Imanpour Namin, M. Sattari, Sh. Abdolmalaki, A. Bani, B.E.A. Rochowski
Open Access
Background. Temporal variability in fish reproductive features is influenced by environmental and spatial variations. Given the wide distribution of northern pike, Esox lucius Linnaeus, 1758, in the northern hemisphere, important reproductive features such as the initiation of the spawning activity are likely to vary with latitudinal gradients. The overall goal of the presently reported study was to answer basic questions regarding the reproductive biology of the pike and to discuss changes in the timing of the onset of spawning activity in relation to geographical locations and the water temperature in the Anzali Wetland compared to higher latitudes. Materials and methods. Monthly samples (537 specimens in total) were collected from the Anzali Wetland (southwest of the Caspian Sea) from July 2012 through July 2013. Samples were macro- and microscopically examined, and their maturity stages were identified, so that spawning season, monthly distribution of maturity stages, oocytes development, spawning strategy, length at 50% maturity, and fecundity were estimated. Results. The gonadosomatic index, oocyte size-frequency distribution, and histological examination suggested a relatively short spawning season, from February through March. The short annual spawning period and the oocyte size-frequency distribution demonstrated that pike is a total spawner with group synchronous oocyte development. The length at 50% maturity was 28.5 and 33.9 cm FL for males and females, respectively. Absolute fecundity values ranged from 4423 to 48471 oocytes, with mean (± standard error) of 16481 ± 2705 oocytes and the relative fecundity was estimated as 26.9 ± 1.6 oocytes per gram of mature female. Conclusion. The most important findings of this study are: the earlier initiation and relatively shorter duration of the reproductive activities of pike in the south Caspian region compared to northern geographical regions. The results emphasize the need for specific management strategies based on seasonal measures for pike such as: fish size limits, limitation of catches during the spawning season, limitation of the boat number, and closure of the spawning area during spawning months.
Esox lucius, fecundity, group synchronous, length-at-maturity, spawning season