Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 4, pp 1559–1569 | Cite as

Factors affecting the spawning period of sardine in two highly oligotrophic Seas

  • Konstantinos GaniasEmail author
  • Stylianos Somarakis
  • Constantin Koutsikopoulos
  • Athanassios Machias
Research Article


Ovarian histology and weight dynamics of reproductive and somatic tissues were used to investigate seasonality of spawning and factors affecting reproductive period in two E Mediterranean sardine, Sardina pilchardus, populations (central Aegean and Ionian Seas), between September 1999 and May 2001. Despite similarities in the general spawning pattern of the two populations, i.e. protracted spawning season during the colder months of the year, reproductive period in the Ionian was shorter and lagged behind the Aegean by 2–3 months. In both Seas, reproductive period was influenced by body size as smaller females tended to have both shorter and delayed spawning season. Whereas hepatosomatic index (HSI) was consistently higher in reproductively active females during the whole spawning period, seasonality of spawning did not match variations of HSI. In both Seas fluctuations of HSI matched the spring burst of primary productivity and were followed by fluctuations in somatic condition and mesenteric fat by a 2 months’ lag. Somatic condition and reproductive activity displayed inverse seasonal patterns, implying that egg production in sardine basically relies on visceral and muscular fat deposits, accumulated during the summer growing season. Reliance of egg production on past energetic reserves suggests that sardine is a capital breeder, which is a rather efficient strategy in such oligotrophic habitats as the E Mediterranean, where winter spawning is accompanied by a particular decline in adult preying fields.


Reproductive Period Reproductive Activity Seasonal Evolution Vitellogenic Oocyte Somatic Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr. C. Papaconstantinou, E. Caragitsou and A. Siapatis from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research in Athens and all the staff from the laboratory of zoology of the University of Patras for their collaboration in the collection of the samples. K. Labrakis, M. Papadaki and N. Papaconstantinou are thanked for their help in laboratory analysis. Thanks are due to two anonymous reviewers for helpful recommendations. This study was partially funded by a EU- DG XIV Study Project (contract No. 98/039). The experimental work complied with the current laws of Greece.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konstantinos Ganias
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stylianos Somarakis
    • 2
  • Constantin Koutsikopoulos
    • 2
  • Athanassios Machias
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Ichthyology, School of BiologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Laboratory of Zoology, Department of BiologyUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  3. 3.Hellenic Center for Marine ResearchIraklion, CreteGreece

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