Larval development of the back keeled mullet Liza carinata

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Abstract

The sex ratio of the fish used in this study, was 1:1.5 females to males. Natural spawning of the keelback mullet, Liza carinata, in captivity was possible and occurred between December and February. The mean fertilized egg diameter of L. carinata was 0.8±.051 mm. Hatching took place after 36 h at 23°C. The mean total length of the just-hatched larvae was 2.0±0.179 mm. Larval developmental stages, growth, and morphological changes of L. carinata were described on the basis of a series of specimens (391 in total) reared from days 1 to 89 after hatching. Details of the larval developmental stages were drawn and photographed, with special reference being taken of morphological transformations. Larvae completed yolk absorption on the sixth day after hatching, and opened their mouths on day 4. Notochord flexion started on the sixteenth day at 5.0 mm total length. Transformation from larval to juvenile stage occurred between days 30 and 51 after hatching. The maximum size of larvae and the minimum size of juveniles which appeared during the transitional period were 19 and 9.9 mm TL, respectively. By day 51, all the larvae had changed into juveniles with a mean TL of 29.3±6.429 mm. The juveniles started to change into young adults with three anal spines by day 88 at a TL of 62 mm.

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