Rapid growth and short life spans characterize pipefish populations in vulnerable seagrass beds
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Journal of Fish Biology, 2016, 88 (5), pp. 1847 - 1855
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© 2016 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles. The life-history traits of two species of pipefish (Syngnathidae) from seagrass meadows in New South Wales, Australia, were examined to understand whether they enhance resilience to habitat degradation. The spotted pipefish Stigmatopora argus and wide-bodied pipefish Stigmatopora nigra exhibit some of the shortest life spans known for vertebrates (longevity up to 150 days) and rapid maturity (male S. argus 35 days after hatching (DAH) and male S. nigra at 16-19 DAH), key characteristics of opportunistic species. Growth rates of both species were extremely rapid (up to 2 mm day-1), with seasonal and sex differences in growth rate. It is argued that short life spans and high growth rates may be advantageous for these species, which inhabit one of the most threatened marine ecosystems on earth.
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