Reproductive cycle and spatiotemporal variation in abundance of the one-sided livebearer Jenynsia multidentata, in Patos Lagoon, Brazil

Garcia, Alexandre Miranda; Winemiller, Kirk; Raseira, Marcelo Bassols


Jenynsia multidentata is an important component of the fish assemblage of the Patos Lagoon estuary in southern South Brazil. In order to investigate its reproductive cycle and abundance patterns, standardized sampling was conducted over large spatial (marine, estuary and lagoon) and temporal (1996–2003) scales. Both females and males were significantly more abundant during summer (December–March) than winter (June–August). Total abundance was significantly positively correlated with water temperature (R=0.91), but not with salinity and Secchi depth. Females achieved higher average (49.1 mm L T) and maximum size (91 mm) than males (37.7 mm; 66 mm), and average sex ratio was female-biased (3.2:1) across all months. An annual reproductive cycle composed of two cohorts was proposed: individuals born from December to March started reproducing during late winter and spring and individuals born from September to November started reproducing during late summer and fall. A 12-month survey conducted throughout the longitudinal gradient of the lagoon indicated that the species was only present in the estuary, and was absent from marine and upper lagoon areas. The abiotic factors analyzed could not explain this spatial distribution. Inter-annual variation in abundance was great, with higher abundance during drier years. A `dilution effect' was proposed to explain the low abundance of the species in the estuary during high-rainfall trigged by El Niño episodes

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