Comparative growth increments of gladius surface and cross-sections to estimate Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis age
The age of the purpleback flying squid (Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis) has been widely studied over its geographic range based on hard structure analysis, especially the statolith. In this study, we propose an additional method for estimating the age of S. oualaniensis using growth increments in the gladius. Our results show regular growth increments in the proostracum dorsal surface and stem cross-sections. Linear regression analysis of the relationship between statolith and gladius readings showed the formation of increments in stem cross-sections to be daily, assuming that the formation of increments is daily in statoliths. A progressively more faint microstructure in the half-posterior part of the gladius possibly explains why the number of growth increments in the proostracum dorsal surface is less than the statolith-determined age. The low average percentage error and coefficient of variation indicate that our modified processing and counting methods are reliable. We believe that using growth increments in the gladius stem cross-section is a feasible alternative tool for determining the age of S. oualaniensis, whereas using growth increments in the proostracum dorsal surface is more informative for reconstructing ontogenetic life history.
Special thanks goes to the reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript. The Project was jointly funded by the Ministry of Agriculture Programs for light falling net survey for pelagic fish in the Central Pacific Ocean (2014), the Provincial Programs for the Rising Young Teachers (YQ2014002), the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201403008), the Project of Enhancing School with Innovation of Guangdong Ocean University (2013050247) and National Training Programs of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Undergraduates (201410566002). We thank Dr. Pauline H. Lovell for editing the English text.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
None of the coauthors has ethical issues arising from conflicts of interest.
Research involving animals
The samples were taken with the permission of the Shanghai Ocean University which is in charge of oceanic fisheries research in China. All the sampling protocols have been evaluated and approved by the Shanghai Ocean University, and the samples were taken strictly following protocol.
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