Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 285–295 | Cite as

Distribution and early life history of Kaupichthys leptocephali (family Chlopsidae) in the central Indonesian Seas

  • Tae Won Lee
  • Michael J. MillerEmail author
  • Hak Bin Hwang
  • Sam Wouthuyzen
  • Katsumi Tsukamoto
Research Article


Leptocephali of the widely distributed tropical marine eels of the genus Kaupichthys (family Chlopsidae) were collected around Sulawesi Island during a sampling survey in the Indonesian Seas in late September and early October 2002, and the otolith microstructure of 24 of the 59 specimens captured was examined to learn about the larval growth rates and spawning times of these small sized eels. Leptocephali ranging in size from 25 to 60 mm were collected in Makassar Strait and the Celebes Sea, but they were most abundant in the semi-enclosed Tomini Bay of northeast Sulawesi Island. The Kaupichthys leptocephali examined had 39–161 otolith growth increments. Their back-calculated hatching dates indicated that five age groups were present and each group appeared to have been spawned around the full moon of previous months. Average growth rate estimates of the first two age groups were 0.65 and 0.54 mm/day for the 27.4–30.4 and 37.6–45.6 mm age classes. The growth rates of the oldest three age groups (52.0–60.8 mm) appeared to have slowed down after they reached their approximate maximum size. An increase in increment widths at the outer margin of the otoliths of those larger than 53 mm suggested that the process of metamorphosis had begun even though there were few external morphological changes indicating metamorphosis. It is hypothesized that chlopsid leptocephali have an unusually short gut that may not need to move forward during early metamorphosis. The presence of four age classes in Tomini Bay suggests that the Togian Islands region may be productive habitats for Kaupichthys juveniles and adults.


Full Moon Increment Width Individual Growth Rate Otolith Microstructure Olfactory Rosette 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tae Won Lee
    • 1
  • Michael J. Miller
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hak Bin Hwang
    • 1
  • Sam Wouthuyzen
    • 3
  • Katsumi Tsukamoto
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of OceanographyChungnam National UniversityDaejeonKorea
  2. 2.Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Research Center for OceanographyIndonesian Institute of SciencesJakartaIndonesia

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