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Maturation And Diel Reproductive Periodicity Of Round Scad (Carangidae: Decapterus Punctatus)

R. McBride, F. Stengard, B. Mahmoudi
Published 2002 · Biology

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Abstract. The diel reproductive periodicity of Carangidae is poorly known but appears to be highly variable between species. Some species spawn during the day, others are believed to spawn at night, and it is demonstrated here that round scad, Decapterus punctatus, spawn at dusk. We collected D. punctatus in the eastern Gulf of Mexico during three April cruises (1995, 1996, and 1997). Based on histological criteria, size at 50% maturity was 113 mm fork length (FL) for males and 128 mm FL for females. The gonad-somatic index (GSI) of mature males was significantly different between hours and appeared to show diel periodicity. Diel periodicity was also observed in changes in female GSIs, whole oocyte diameters, and ovarian histology. The average GSI of mature females fluctuated two-fold between day and night, and the size distribution of whole oocytes in some fish was bimodal (at 0.3–0.4 and 0.7–0.8 mm diameter) at dusk rather than unimodal during most of the diel cycle. Histological preparations revealed that these rapid changes in ovarian GSIs and oocyte size distributions were the result of final oocyte maturation. Germinal vesicle migration was observed from 0900 to 1400  hours eastern standard time (EST), germinal vesicle breakdown was evident as early as 1100 hours EST, and ovulation occurred as early as 1800 hours EST. Spawning frequency (approximately every 5 days) was similar whether calculated from the proportion of females with hydrated oocytes during the afternoon or from the proportion of females with postovulatory follicles during the morning. Batch fecundity correlated with fish size and ranged from 5,500 to 34,700 hydrated eggs per individual. These findings do not support published hypotheses that young-of-the-year D. punctatus reproduce before their first winter or that D. punctatus reproductive output is bimodal within a year.
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