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Neotropical Ichthyology

versão impressa ISSN 1679-6225


SEYBOTH, Elisa et al. Age, growth, and reproductive aspects of the dusky grouper Mycteroperca marginata (Actinopterygii: Epinephelidae) in a man-made rocky habitat in southern Brazil. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2011, vol.9, n.4, pp.849-856.  Epub 21-Out-2011. ISSN 1679-6225.

The dusky grouper, Mycteroperca marginata, is an important commercial marine fish that is currently considered an endangered species worldwide and listed as overexploited in Brazil. Although its reproductive biology has been studied elsewhere, no information is available for populations in its southernmost distribution limit on the Brazilian coast. The present work investigates age structure, growth and reproduction of individuals inhabiting a pair of rocky jetties, about 4.5 km long each, located in the mouth of Patos Lagoon in the municipality of Rio Grande, in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. A total of 130 individuals obtained between February 2007 and May 2009 were analyzed, with total length ranging from 260 to 800 mm. The growth coefficient found in the present study (K: 0.069) was lower than values reported for dusky grouper populations from the Mediterranean Sea (0.087) and southeast Africa (0.09). This difference could be related to higher average water temperatures in these regions compared to the current study site or due to poorer habitat quality in terms of the shelters available for dusky grouper individuals to establish their territories. Microscopic ovarian analyses of individuals during three years of sampling revealed only the occurrence of immature and resting females. The absence of ripe or post-spawning individuals, associated with low GSI values (<0.2) over the studied months, indicates that the dusky grouper did not use this man-made rocky substrate as a spawning site. The current L50 estimate of 451.3 mm indicates that most individuals captured in this area are immature. Such fishing pressure on immature specimens, associated with its slow growth rates and complex reproductive characteristics, threatens sustainability of the current dusky grouper fishery at the study site.

Palavras-chave : Endangered species; Epinephelus marginatus; Patos Lagoon; Rocky jetties.

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