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Seasonal and spatial changes in sex hormone levels and oocyte development of bonefish (Albula vulpes)

  • Cameron Luck
  • Sahar Mejri
  • Justin Lewis
  • Paul S. Wills
  • Marty Riche
  • Jonathan Shenker
  • Aaron Adams
  • Matthew J. Ajemian
Article

Abstract

Bonefish (Albula vulpes) support an economically important fishery, yet little is known regarding the reproductive biology of this species. Blood and oocyte samples were collected from wild female bonefish (Albula vulpes) during (February and April, 2017) and outside (September, 2017) the spawning season in Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas. Fish reproductive state was evaluated using histological analysis of the oocytes and determination of sex hormone levels of 17β-estradiol and testosterone in the plasma. The presence of three different cohorts of oocytes in bonefish females suggests group-synchronous ovarian development. Levels of 17β-estradiol were low in individuals sampled outside of the spawning season relative to fish sampled during spawning months. Testosterone levels did not change as female bonefish entered the spawning season. Within the spawning season, bonefish are commonly found along shallow water flats, or in pre-spawn aggregations (PSA). The diameters of late vitellogenic oocytes collected from PSA fish were significantly larger than those from the flats fish. Levels of 17β-estradiol did not differ between PSA and flats fish; however, testosterone levels were significantly higher in fish from the PSA. These results indicate that as bonefish are transitioning to the PSA from flats habitats, vitellogenesis is still occurring. However, when and where final maturation commences in reproductively active bonefish remains unclear.

Keywords

Bonefish Reproductive development Sex hormone Oocyte 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was financially supported by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). We are grateful for the lodging and water access provided by East End Lodge. The experimental protocol for this study received approval from Florida Atlantic University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (Animal Use Protocol #A16-34).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cameron Luck
    • 1
  • Sahar Mejri
    • 1
  • Justin Lewis
    • 2
  • Paul S. Wills
    • 1
  • Marty Riche
    • 1
  • Jonathan Shenker
    • 3
  • Aaron Adams
    • 1
    • 2
  • Matthew J. Ajemian
    • 1
  1. 1.Harbor Branch Oceanographic InstituteFlorida Atlantic UniversityFort PierceUSA
  2. 2.Bonefish and Tarpon TrustCoral GablesUSA
  3. 3.Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA

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