Open Access Repository

Development of eggs and larvae of Emmelichthys nitidus (Percoidei:Emmelichthyidae) in south-eastern Australia, including a temperature-dependent egg incubation model

Neira, FJ, Keane, JP, Lyle, JM and Tracey, SR ORCID: 0000-0002-6735-5899 2008 , 'Development of eggs and larvae of Emmelichthys nitidus (Percoidei:Emmelichthyidae) in south-eastern Australia, including a temperature-dependent egg incubation model' , Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 79, no. 1 , pp. 35-44 , doi:

[img] PDF
ECSS_RBT_Niera_...pdf | Request a copy
Full text restricted
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


Reared eggs and field-collected material were employed to describe the development of the pelagic eggs
and larvae of Emmelichthys nitidus (Emmelichthyidae), a small (36 cm TL) mid-water schooling species
common in shelf waters of temperate Australia. Hydrated oocytes from adults trawled from spawning
grounds off eastern Tasmania were fertilized and reared to the yolk-sac larval stage, and the data employed
to build a temperature-dependent egg incubation model. Embryogenesis lasted 96, 84 and 54 h at
mean temperatures of 13.1, 14.4 and 16.5 C respectively, and was divided into seven stages based on
extent of epiboly until blastopore closure (stages I–III) and embryo growth (stages IV–VII). Eggs (1.00–
1.05 mm diameter) are spherical with a smooth chorion, small perivitelline space and prominent, unsegmented
yolk with a single, posteriorly-located oil globule (0.18–0.20 mm diameter) that becomes
pigmented from stage III. Embryos have two distinct snout melanophores, and a paired melanophore row
laterally along the trunk and tail. Morphological identification of eggs collected during surveys in October
2005 and 2006 was validated using quantitative PCR amplification of the mtDNA d-loop gene region
unique to E. nitidus, producing an 80–100% agreement across all seven stages. Newly-emerged larvae
(1.9–3.3 mm) possess a prominent yolk sac with the posteriorly-located, pigmented oil globule, mouth
not yet functional and unpigmented eyes. Notochord flexion occurs between 5 and 8 mm while fins are
formed by 12 mm. Larvae examined (3.3–17.4 mm) are lightly pigmented and possess percoid features
such as an elongate to moderate body, coiled, triangular-shaped gut, preopercular spines and 24–25
myomeres; two prominent pigment patches opposite each other dorsally and ventrally along the tail are
diagnostic. Variability of mean egg ages (y) by temperature (t) and stage (i) was best described by the
deterministic stage-to-age model y ¼ 35.911exp[(0.155t þ 0.262i)]i2.436. Developmental changes and
model outputs paralleled those reported for laboratory-reared eggs of known clupeoids and scombrids,
whereby hatching time and transition periods between stages decrease with increasing temperatures.
The suitability of the incubation model to assign ages to staged field-caught eggs of E. nitidus is discussed
in terms of its application to estimate spawning biomass using the daily egg production method.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Neira, FJ and Keane, JP and Lyle, JM and Tracey, SR
Keywords: Emmelichthys nitidus, fish eggs, incubation, embryonic development, larvae
Journal or Publication Title: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
ISSN: 0272-7714
DOI / ID Number:
Additional Information:

The definitive version is available at

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page