Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 6, pp 1403–1415 | Cite as

Larval mesopelagic fish assemblages in the Kuroshio–Oyashio transition region of the western North Pacific

  • C. SassaEmail author
  • K. Kawaguchi
  • K. Taki
Research Article


We examined larval mesopelagic fish assemblages, their distribution, and seasonal occurrence patterns in the Kuroshio–Oyashio transition region of the western North Pacific where complex hydrographic structures are observed due to the confluence of the Kuroshio Extension and Oyashio current. Larvae of the dominant families Myctophidae, Gonostomatidae, Bathylagidae, Sternoptychidae, and Phosichthyidae were represented by 31 species or types belonging to 24 genera. Based on species composition analysis using the Morishita–Horn similarity index, five assemblages were recognized: Oyashio, Spring Transition, Summer Transition, Kuroshio, and Slope Water assemblages. The distribution patterns of these assemblages corresponded closely with hydrographic structures such as position of the Oyashio and Kuroshio Extension fronts, warm core rings and streamers. Spring Transition (April) and Summer Transition (July–October) assemblages were the most important larval assemblages in the transition region. Larval abundances were low during late autumn and winter. The Spring Transition and Summer Transition assemblages were composed of subtropical, transitional, subarctic, and slope-water species, suggesting the importance of the transition region as nursery grounds of mesopelagic fishes of various origins from subarctic to subtropical waters. Larval fish transport by the Kuroshio, Oyashio, and Tsugaru Warm currents into the transition region is discussed.


Transition Region Larval Abundance Oyashio Water Japanese Anchovy Mesopelagic Fish 
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We are grateful to the captains, officers, and crew of the R.V. “Hakuho-Maru” Ocean Research Institute, the University of Tokyo and “Wakataka-Maru” Japanese Fisheries Agency for their assistance in the field. We are also grateful to Drs. M. Moku of National Fisheries University and H. Watanabe of National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries, for their valuable discussions during the course of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute Fisheries Research AgencyNagasakiJapan
  2. 2.Ocean Research Institute University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries Fisheries Research AgencyShizuokaJapan

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