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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.33 no.4 Rio de Janeiro  1938 

Biologia do saguirú (Characidae, Curimatinae)

P. de Azevedo

M. Vianna Dias

B. Borges Vieira


In Brazil all the fishes belonging to the sub-family Curimatinae are called « saguirú ». The present work gives a biological study of the Curimatus elegans Steind., a small fish without any economical importance, which is to be found along the whole brazilian coast, down till Paraguay. The specimens utilized for the present study come from Fortaleza (Ceará, north-eastern Brazil). The C. elegans is « ilyophagus », that means, it feeds itself exclusively with those organic materials to be found in mud, specially with microscopical algae. The intestines are very extent, some of them measuring about 9 to 11 times body's length. Studies have been made about growth and age of the C. elegans; the biggest sizes found were of 153 mm. for females and 88 mm. for males. The C. elegans shows developed sexual glands during a long period (April to September). The movements of the spermatozoa, in contact with water is of 40 to 50 seconds of intense movements, ceasing after 70 to 100 seconds. In contact with 0.5% NaCl-solution spermatozoa show a big increase in movements-time, that can last till about 25 minutes. The eggs' diameter measures 0.70 to 0.73 mm., mature and hydrated it attains 0.93 to 1,00 mm. There is a certain correlation between the size of the body and the quantity of eggs. Big specimens can produce a total of 200.000 eggs. The average quantity contained in 1 gr. and 1 cc. is 6018 and 6229 eggs, respectively. Maturity and spawning in laboratory has been obtained due to injections of suspension of fish-hypophysis. Three or four hours after the injection, fishes show more movement and evident signs of excitation, proceeding spawning after 5 to 6 hours. Males, persecuting females, describe successive circles (merry-go-round) - carroussel), swimming side by side with females up to water's surface, where sexual products are start beating dry, for there is no blood yet. Circulation-scheme is to be found on fig. 4 and 5. The swim-bladder and the stomach are but delineated; the intestine is formed by a cylindric tube, all closed. At the place, where later on there will open the mouth, we find a group of ciliary hairs that produce a liquid current, very evident by the semi-circle formed by attached solid particles. After 36 hours, opening of the mouth and formation of the gill slits begin. At the age of 90 hours (4 mm.) the larvas swim well and start to feed themselves; the digestive tube is now all open and the swimbladder works already. During the first days of life, larvas have an adhesive organ situated at their frontal region (fig. 7) in form of a crescent, by means of which they hang to surrounding vegetation (fig. 6). When the larva begins to swim and to feed itself and its yolk are having been absorbed. the adhesive organ retracts and disappears. While larvas and alevins feed themselves with plancton, they have small eye-teeth, which disappear,. when fishes become « ilyophagus ». There exist too, during their life as larvas, pharyngeal-teeth. The lateral line appears in the larva after 16 to 18 days; more or less at the same time all fins are completely developed. Shortly after, first scales appear (20 to 23 days). Evolution of intestines twisting followed (fig. 9). Larvas show at different parts of their bodies small of organs excretory functions, that are constituted by bottons in serial disposition, every one with an excretory canal that opens towards the outside. These formations disappear suddenly when larvas attain their phase of alevin. The existence of a great number of said formations at the caudal fin (fig. 12) is of great interest. In our experiences of breeding we have employed several thousands of C. elegans larvas in different environs and we made conditions of surrounding change (illumination), depth of water, temperature, presence of sand at bottom of aquariums and without sand, food). In this way we could compare the results obtained, estimate the action of each factor for the realisation of a good bring-up of larvas.


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