Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 102, Issue 2, pp 253–265 | Cite as

Age, growth, and age at maturity of bonefish (Albula species) among Cuban habitats

  • Jacob J. RennertEmail author
  • Jonathan M. Shenker
  • Jorge A. Angulo-Valdés
  • Aaron J. Adams


Bonefish (Albula spp.) are a prized sportfish among avid anglers worldwide. Two morphologically indistinguishable species of bonefish (Albula vulpes and Albula goreensis) occur in coastal areas of the tropical western Atlantic. Growth rates of A. vulpes, which supports an economically important sport fishery, differ among locations where they have been studied, but many locations have not yet been examined. To investigate bonefish growth in Cuba, specimens were obtained from fish markets at three sites around the periphery of the island from November 2016 to January 2017. Sagittal otoliths (for aging) and fin clips (for genetics) were collected from each fish, and sex was determined by examining gonads. A total of 218 bonefish were sampled, with size ranging from 187-530mm fork length (FL), genetic testing indicated that 134 were A. vulpes, 59 were A. goreensis, and seven were hybrids. The oldest fish collected were eight and nine years old for A. vulpes and A. goreensis respectively. A. vulpes females reached larger sizes than males. The overall von Bertalanffy growth model of the two-different species were significantly different. A. vulpes grew to larger sizes than A. goreensis. Almost all A. vulpes greater than 210 mm FL in Cuba were reproductively mature, while 50% size at maturity in Florida occurs at a mean size between 418 mm and 488 mm FL. The insight of different growth patterns between A. vulpes and A. goreensis allows for better management of the species, and further distinguishes differences in the biology of A. vulpes and A. goreensis.


Bonefish Albulidae Otolith analysis Age-size relationship Age at maturity Cuba 



We thank our Cuban colleagues for their invaluable assistance in all phases of field work and sample collection. Additional help with field collections was provided by B. Rennert, W. Szelistowski, and C. Krediet. E. Wallace and B. Kurth of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), conducted the genetic analysis of bonefish fin clip samples. R. Fidler assisted with processing otoliths and data analysis. J. Carroll and K. Cook (FWC Age and Growth Laboratory), assisted with reading otoliths. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, through the Florida Sea Grant Program, generously provided the funds to complete this study. This study was in accordance with the Florida Institute of Technology IACUC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marsh & Associates LLCTempeUSA
  2. 2.Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA
  3. 3.Eckerd CollegeSt. PetersburgUSA
  4. 4.Bonefish & Tarpon TrustCoral GablesUSA
  5. 5.Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic InstituteFort PierceUSA

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