Temperate eels are well known for partial migration where contingents may remain settled in marine habitats or move between seawater and brackish and freshwater habitats during their sub-adult life. This behaviour is less described in tropical Anguillid eels, particularly as it relates to salinity preference, habitat selection, and growth. In this study, glass eels Anguilla marmorata were collected from an estuary near the Cagayan River, northern Philippines, and observed for their behaviour and growth response in freshwater, brackish water, and seawater. A. marmorata glass eels spent most of their time in freshwater and brackish water and the least amount of time in seawater throughout the 30-min trial. Some individuals showed switching behaviour between salinity choices, but freshwater was the final selection. Growth-in-length was moderately and significantly lower for seawater-reared glass eels than those reared in freshwater and brackish water. Glass eels reared in freshwater had the highest survival, followed by those reared in brackish water and seawater. Habitat choice, growth, and survival trials all indicated that A. marmorata glass eels found in the Cagayan River have a major preference for freshwater and brackish water over seawater. These findings raise concerns with regard to the increased fishing pressure of eels, water pollution, and quarrying which is concentrated in freshwater habitats.
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The authors thank Renato Adolfo, Francis Kenith Adolfo, Danica May Lawagan, Sherry Lyn Grajales Sayco, and staff of the Bolinao Marine Laboratory for their assistance during the experiments, and Prof. Katsumi Tsukamoto for the constructive suggestions on the study design.
The Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute provided grants for thesis research to G.A.G. Aquino. Logistical support was provided in part by a grant from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology to P.C. Cabaitan (QMSR-MRRD-MEC-295-1449).
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Aquino, G.A.G., Cabaitan, P.C. & Secor, D.H. Locomotor activity and growth response of glass eel Anguilla marmorata exposed to different salinity levels. Fish Sci (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12562-021-01493-x
- Glass eel
- Salinity preference