Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 491–506 | Cite as

Reproductive biology of wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri, off eastern Australia

  • Mitchell T. Zischke
  • Jessica H. Farley
  • Shane P. Griffiths
  • Ian R. Tibbetts
Research paper


A dearth of basic biological information for wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri, currently hinders the ability of scientists and managers to assess population sustainability and appropriately manage the dramatically increasing global catch. This study examined the gonads of 382 wahoo collected off eastern Australia during 2008–2011 to quantify their reproductive biology in the region. The overall sex ratio of the sample was 3.2:1 (females:males), however this differed significantly among fishing sectors and areas. The estimated fork length at which 50 % of female wahoo reach maturity was 1,046 mm. Similar to the Atlantic Ocean, female wahoo have a protracted summer spawning season during October-February. The mean spawning frequency of female wahoo was uncertain but may be approximately 2–3 days, with evidence of fish actively spawning on consecutive days. Batch fecundity of females was positively correlated with fish size and estimates ranged between 0.65 and 5.12 million oocytes. Relative fecundity was estimated at 122.0 (±9.7) oocytes per gram of ovary free body weight and did not differ with fish size or throughout the spawning season. Estimation of reproductive parameters such as size- and age-at-maturity may facilitate the construction of per-recruit stock assessments of wahoo in the region.


Fecundity Maturity Pelagic Scombridae Sex ratio Spawning 



We thank the numerous commercial, charter and recreational fishers that donated samples for this research. We also thank S. Hall, W. Hagedoorn, J. Cavallaro, B. Lamason and G. Heilmann for assisting with the logistics of sample collection, storage and freight. B. Gilby, B. Lockett, J. Lerner, M. O’Haire, N. Silvana Santini González and A. Heemsoth assisted with laboratory dissections. T. van der Velde is thanked for assistance with histological procedures. This research was funded by the Winifred Violet Scott Estate and an Ethel Mary Reid grant from the Royal Zoological Society of NSW. M.T.Z was funded by a University of Queensland Research Scholarship, with support provided by CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research. This research was approved by The University of Queensland Animal Ethics Committee (approval number CMS/884/08/FRDC/URG).


  1. Brown-Peterson NJ, Franks JS, Burke AM (2000) Preliminary observations on the reproductive biology of wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri, from the northern Gulf of Mexico and Bimini, Bahamas. Proc Gulf Caribb Fish Inst 51:414–427Google Scholar
  2. Chen KS, Crone PR, Hsu CC (2010) Reproductive biology of albacore Thunnus alalunga. J Fish Biol 77:119–136PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collette BB, Nauen CE (1983) FAO Species catalogue vol. 2 scombrids of the world. FAO fisheries synopsis no. 125, RomeGoogle Scholar
  4. Cooksey CL (1996) Reproductive biology of Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus maculatus, in the lower Chesapeake Bay. PhD Thesis, The College of William and MaryGoogle Scholar
  5. de Sylva DP, Breder PR (1997) Reproduction, gonad histology, and spawning cycles of North Atlantic billfishes (Istiophoridae). Bull Mar Sci 60:688–697Google Scholar
  6. Domeier ML, Speare P (2012) Dispersal of adult black marlin (Istiompax indica) from a Great Barrier Reef spawning aggregation. PLoS ONE 7:e31629PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. FAO (2012) FISHSTAT Plus: Universal software for fishery statistical time series, version 2.3. FAO Fisheries Department, Fishery Information, Data and Statistics UnitGoogle Scholar
  8. Farley JH, Davis TLO (1998) Reproductive dynamics of southern bluefin tuna, Thunnus maccoyii. Fish Bull 96:223–236Google Scholar
  9. Farley JH, Williams AJ, Hoyle SD, Davies CR, Clear N, Nicol SJ (in press) Reproductive dynamics and potential annual fecundity of South Pacific albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga). PLoS OneGoogle Scholar
  10. Figuerola-Fernández M, Peña-Alvarado N, Torres-Ruiz W (2008) Maturation and reproductive seasonality of the wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri), red-ear sardine (Harengula humeralis), false pilchard (Harengula clupeola), thread herring (Opisthonema oglinum), crevalle jack (Caranx hippos), horse-eye jack (Caranx latus), blue runner (Caranx crysos), and great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) in Puerto Rico. In: Vélez-Arocho J, Diaz-Velázquez E, García-Pérez M, Berrios JM, Rosario-Jiménez A (eds) Aspects of the reproductive biology of recreationally important fish species in Puerto Rico. Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Fish and Wildlife BureauGoogle Scholar
  11. Fitzhugh GR, Hettler WF (1995) Temperature influence on postovulatory follicle degeneration in Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus. Fish Bull 93:568–572Google Scholar
  12. Hogarth WT (1976) Life history aspects of the wahoo Acanthocybium solandri (Cuvier and Valenciennes) from the coast of North Carolina. PhD Thesis, North Carolina State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  13. Hunter JR, Macewicz BJ (1985a) Measurement of spawning frequency in multiple spawning fishes. NOAA Tech Rep NMFS 36:79–94Google Scholar
  14. Hunter JR, Macewicz BJ (1985b) Rates of atresia in the ovary of captive and wild northern anchovy, Engraulis mordax. Fish Bull 83:119–136Google Scholar
  15. Hunter JR, Lo NCH, Leong RJH (1985) Batch fecundity in multiple spawning fishes. NOAA Tech Rep NMFS 36:67–77Google Scholar
  16. Hunter JR, Macewicz BJ, Sibert JR (1986) The spawning frequency of skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis, from the south Pacific. Fish Bull 84:895–903Google Scholar
  17. Itano DG (2000) The reproductive biology of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in Hawaiian waters and the Western Tropical Pacific ocean: project summary. Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, HawaiiGoogle Scholar
  18. Jenkins KLM, McBride RS (2009) Reproductive biology of wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri, from the Atlantic coast of Florida and the Bahamas. Mar Freshw Res 60:893–897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. King MG (2007) Fisheries biology, assessment and management, 2nd edn. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kopf RK, Davie PS, Bromhead DB, Young JW (2012) Reproductive biology and spatiotemporal patterns of spawning in striped marlin Kajikia audax. J Fish Biol 81:1834–1858PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mackie M, Lewis P (2001) Assessment of gonad staging systems and other methods used in the study of the reproductive biology of narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus commerson, in Western Australia. Fish Western Australia Fish Res Rep 136:1–32Google Scholar
  22. Mackie MC, Lewis PD, Gaughan DJ, Newman SJ (2005) Variability in spawning frequency and reproductive development of the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) along the west coast of Australia. Fish Bull 103:344–354Google Scholar
  23. Massutí E, Morales-Nin M-N (1997) Reproductive biology of dolphin-fish (Coryphaena hippurus L.) off the island of Majorca (western Mediterranean). Fish Res 30:57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Matsumoto WM (1967) Morphology and distribution of larval wahoo Acanthocybium solandri (Cuvier) in the central Pacific Ocean. Fish Bull 66:299–322Google Scholar
  25. McBride RS, Richardson AK, Maki KL (2008) Age, growth and mortality of wahoo, Acantocybium solandri, from the Atlantic coast of Florida and the Bahamas. Mar Freshw Res 59:799–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McPherson GR (1993) Reproductive biology of the narrow barred Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson Lacepede, 1800) in Queensland Waters. Asian Fish Sci 6:169–182Google Scholar
  27. Queensland Government (2008) Fisheries regulation 2008, reprint 3A. Queensland Government, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  28. Schaefer KM (1996) Spawning time, frequency, and batch fecundity of yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, near Clipperton Atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Fish Bull 94:98–112Google Scholar
  29. Schaefer KM (1998) Reproductive biology of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Inter Am Trop Tuna Comm Bull 21:205–272Google Scholar
  30. Schaefer KM (2001) Reproductive biology of tunas. Fish Physiol 19:225–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schaefer KM, Fuller DW, Miyabe N (2005) Reproductive biology of bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. Inter Am Trop Tuna Comm Bull 23:1–31Google Scholar
  32. Shimose T, Yokawa K, Saito H, Tachihara K (2012) Sexual difference in the migration pattern of blue marlin, Makaira nigricans, related to spawning and feeding activities in the Western and Central North Pacific Ocean. Bull Mar Sci 88:231–249Google Scholar
  33. Shiraishi T, Ketkar SD, Katoh Y, Nyuji M, Yamaguchi A, Matsuyama M (2009) Spawning frequency of the Tsushima current subpopulation of chub mackerel Scomber japonicus off Kyushu, Japan. Fish Sci 75:649–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. van der Velde TD, Griffiths SP, Fry GC (2010) Reproductive biology of the commercially and recreationally important cobia Rachycentron canadum in northeastern Australia. Fish Sci 76:33–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. West G (1990) Methods of assessing ovarian development in fishes: a review. Mar Freshw Res 41:199–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wollam MB (1969) Larval wahoo, Acanthocybium solanderi, from the straits of Yucatan and Florida. Florida Department Nat Resourc Mar Res Lab Leaflet Ser 4:1–7Google Scholar
  37. Young JW, Hobday AJ, Campbell RA, Kloser RJ, Bonham PI, Clementson LA, Lansdell MJ (2011) The biological oceanography of the East Australian Current and surrounding waters in relation to tuna and billfish catches off eastern Australia. Deep Sea Res II 58:720–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhu GP, Dai XJ, Xu LX, Zhou YQ (2010) Reproductive biology of bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus (Scombridae), in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. Environ Biol Fish 88:253–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zischke MT (2012) A review of the biology, stock structure, fisheries and status of wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri), with reference to the Pacific Ocean. Fish Res 119–120:13–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zischke MT, Griffiths SP, Tibbetts IR (2012) Catch and effort from a specialised recreational pelagic sport fishery off eastern Australia. Fish Res 127–128:61–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zischke MT, Griffiths SP, Tibbetts IR, Lester RJG (2013) Stock identification of wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) in the Pacific and Indian Oceans using morphometrics and parasites. ICES J Mar Sci 70:164–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zischke MT, Griffiths SP, Tibbetts IR (in press) Rapid growth of wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) in the Coral Sea, based on length-at-age estimates using annual and daily increments on sagittal otoliths. ICES J Mar SciGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitchell T. Zischke
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jessica H. Farley
    • 3
  • Shane P. Griffiths
    • 4
  • Ian R. Tibbetts
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric ResearchBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric ResearchHobartAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric ResearchBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations