Skip to main content Accessibility help

Seasonal variations in early life traits of Sindoscopus australis (Blennioidei: Dactyloscopidae): hatching patterns, larval growth and bilateral asymmetry of otoliths

  • Gissella Castillo-Hidalgo (a1), Guido Plaza (a2), Macarena Díaz-Astudillo (a1) and Mauricio F. Landaeta (a1)


Early life traits (ELT) of the sand-burrowing cryptic marine fish Sindoscopus australis (family Dactyloscopidae) were compared between cohorts hatched during winter and spring 2013, in nearshore rocky reefs off central Chile. Pelagic larvae were similarly abundant during both periods, but larger larvae were collected during austral spring. The sagittal otolith microstructure and size analyses also indicated that size-at-hatch was larger (4.7 mm) for the winter cohort, but winter larvae experienced slower growth rates (0.145 mm day−1 ± 0.008). Conversely, larvae from the spring cohort hatched at smaller sizes (2.9 mm), but they grew faster (0.182 mm day−1 ± 0.008). Hatching periods were coupled with the lunar cycle; in winter, hatching events were related to neap tides (first and third quarter moon), increasing chances of self-recruitment. Meanwhile, during spring, hatching occurred during spring tides, particularly over the new moon, decreasing chances of larval mortality by predation. Otolith traits used to test asymmetry among cohorts showed inconsistent results. Only sagittal perimeter presented fluctuating asymmetry, showing higher variance for the winter cohort. We conclude that this burrowing species displays different reproductive tactics at a seasonal scale.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: M. F. Landaeta, Laboratorio de Ictioplancton (LABITI), Escuela de Biología Marina, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Valparaíso, Avenida Borgoño 16344, Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Chile. email:


Hide All
Amara, R., Desaunay, Y. and Lagardere, F. (1994) Seasonal variation in growth of larval sole Solea solea (L.) and consequences on the success of larval immigration. Netherland Journal of Sea Research 32, 287298. doi: 10.1016/0077-7579(94)90006-X.
Batschelet, E. (1981) Circular statistics in biology. New York, NY: Academic Press.
Brothers, E.B., Mathews, C.P. and Lasker, R. (1976) Daily growth increments in otoliths from larval and adult fishes. Fishery Bulletin 74, 18.
Brown, A.L., Busby, M.S. and Mier, K.L. (2001) Walleye pollock Theragra chalcogramma during transformation from the larval to juvenile stage: otolith and osteological development. Marine Biology 139, 845851.
Bustos, C.A., Landaeta, M.F., Palacios-Fuentes, P., Jahnsen-Guzmán, N. and Balbontín, F. (2015) Comparing early life traits of hakes from Chilean Patagonian fjords inferred by otolith microstructure analysis. Fisheries Research 164, 3544. doi: 10.1016/j.fishres.2014.10.016.
Campana, S.E. (1984) Microstructural growth patterns in the otoliths of larval and juvenile starry flounder, Platichthys stellatus. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62, 15071512. doi: 10.1139/z84-219.
Castro, L.R., Salinas, G.R. and Hernández, E.H. (2000) Environmental influences on winter spawning of the anchoveta Engraulis ringens off central Chile. Marine Ecology Progress Series 197, 247258.
Contreras, J.E., Landaeta, M.F., Plaza, G., Ojeda, F.P. and Bustos, C.A. (2013) The contrasting hatching patterns and larval growth of two sympatric clingfishes inferred by otolith microstructure analysis. Marine and Freshwater Research 64, 157167. doi: 10.1071/MF12232.
Cubillos, L.A., Ruiz, P., Claramunt, G., Gacitúa, S., Núñez, S., Castro, L.R., Riquelme, K., Alarcón, C., Oyarzún, C. and Sepúlveda, A. (2007) Spawning, daily egg production, and spawning stock biomass estimation for common sardine (Strangomera bentincki) and anchovy (Engraulis ringens) off central southern Chile in 2002. Fisheries Research 86, 228240.
Dawson, C.E. (1977) Studies on eastern Pacific sand stargazers (Pisces: Dactyloscopidae) 4. Gillellus, Sindoscopus new genus, and Heteristius with description of new species. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 61, 125160.
Díaz-Gil, C., Palmer, M., Catalán, I.A., Alós, J., Fuiman, L.A., García, E., Gil, M.M., Grau, A., Kang, A., Maneja, R.H., Mohan, J.A., Morro, B., Schaffler, J.J., Buttay, L., Riera-Batle, I., Tolosa, B. and Morales-Nin, B. (2015) Otolith fluctuating asymmetry: a misconception of its biological relevance? ICES Journal of Marine Science 72, 20792089. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsv067.
Einum, S. and Fleming, I.A. (2002) Does within-population variation in fish egg size reflect maternal influences on optimal values? American Naturalist 160, 756765. doi: 10.1086/343876.
Foster, S.A. (1987) Diel and lunar patterns of reproduction in the Caribbean and Pacific sergeant major damselfishes Abudefduf saxatilis and A. troschelii. Marine Biology 95, 333343.
Gagliano, M., Depczynski, M., Simpson, S.D. and Moore, J.A.Y. (2008) Dispersal without errors: symmetrical ears tune into the right frequency for survival. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275, 527534. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1388.
Graham, J.H., Freeman, D.C. and Emlen, J.M. (1993) Antisymmetry, directional symmetry, and dynamic morphogenesis. Genetica 89, 121137.
Green, B.S. and Fisher, R. (2004) Temperature influences swimming speed, growth and larval duration in coral reef fish larvae. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 299, 115130. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2003.09.001.
Grote, B., Stenevik, E.K., Ekau, W., Verheye, H.M., Lipiński, M.R. and Hagen, W. (2012) Spawning strategies and transport of early stages of the two Cape hake species, Merluccius paradoxus and M. capensis, in the southern Benguela upwelling system. African Journal of Marine Science 34, 195204. doi: 10.2989/1814232X.2012.675040.
Hernández-Miranda, E., Palma, A.T. and Ojeda, F.P. (2003) Larval fish assemblages in nearshore coastal waters off central Chile: temporal and spatial patterns. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 56, 10751092. doi: 10.1016/S0272–7714(02)00308-6.
Hernández-Miranda, E., Veas, R., Espinoza, C.V., Thorrold, S.R. and Ojeda, F.P. (2009) The use of otoliths and larval abundance for studying the spatial ecology of the blenny Scartichthys viridis (Valenciennes, 1836) in coastal central Chile. Revista de Biología Marina y Oceanografía 44, 619633.
Herrera, G.A., Llanos-Rivera, A. and Landaeta, M.F. (2007) Larvae of the sand stargazer Sindoscopus australis and notes on the development of Dactyloscopidae. Zootaxa 1401, 6368.
Huyer, A. (1983) Coastal upwelling in the California current system. Progress in Oceanography 12, 259284. doi: 10.1016/0079-6611(83)90010-1.
Jearld, A. Jr., Sass, S.L. and Davis, M.F. (1993) Early growth, behavior and otolith development of the winter flounder Pleuronectes americanus. Fishery Bulletin 91, 6575.
Johannessen, A., Blom, G. and Folkvord, A. (2000) Differences in growth pattern between spring and autumn spawned herring (Clupea harengus L.) larvae. Sarsia 85, 461466.
Kohn, Y.Y. and Clements, K.D. (2011) Pelagic larval duration and population connectivity in New Zealand triplefin fishes (Tripterygiidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 91, 275286. doi: 10.1007/s10641-011-9777-3.
Landaeta, M.F. and Castro, L.R. (2012) Seasonal and annual variation in Chilean hake Merluccius gayi spawning location and egg size off central Chile. Progress in Oceanography 92–95, 166177. doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2011.07.002.
Landaeta, M.F. and Castro, L.R. (2013) Vertical distribution and gas bladder inflation/deflation in postlarval anchoveta Engraulis ringens during upwelling events. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 93, 321331. doi: 10.1017/S0025315411001767.
Landaeta, M.F., Zavala-Muñoz, F., Palacios-Fuentes, P., Bustos, C.A., Alvarado-Niño, M., Letelier, J., Cáceres, M.A. and Muñoz, G. (2015) Spatial and temporal variations of coastal fish larvae, ectoparasites and oceanographic conditions off central Chile. Revista de Biología Marina y Oceanografía 50, 563574.
Lemberget, T. and McCormick, M.I. (2009) Replenishment success linked to fluctuating asymmetry in larval fish. Oecologia 159, 8393. doi: 10.1007/s00442-008-1212-x.
Llanos, A., Herrera, G. and Bernal, P. (1996) Análisis del tamaño de las presas en la dieta de las larvas de cuatro clupeiformes en un área costera de Chile central. Scientia Marina 60, 435442.
Llanos-Rivera, A., Herrera, G. and Bernal, P. (2004) Food size selectivity and diet overlap in larvae of Clupeiform species from Chile central. Cahiers de Biologie Marine 45, 18.
Mansur, L., Catalán, D., Plaza, G., Landaeta, M.F. and Ojeda, F.P. (2013) Validations of the daily periodicity of increment deposition in rocky intertidal fish otoliths of the south-eastern Pacific Ocean. Revista de Biología Marina y Oceanografía 48, 629633. doi: 10.4067/S0718-19572013000300019.
Mittelstaedt, E. (1991) The ocean boundary along the northwest African coast: circulation and oceanographic properties at the sea surface. Progress in Oceanography 26, 307355. doi: 10.1016/0079-6611(91)90011-A.
Morgan, S.G. and Christy, J.H. (1994) Plasticity, constraint, and optimality in reproductive timing. Ecology 75, 21852203.
Narváez, D.A., Poulin, E., Leiva, G., Hernández, E., Castilla, J.C. and Navarrete, S.A. (2004) Seasonal and spatial variation of nearshore hydrographic conditions in central Chile. Continental Shelf Research 24, 279292. doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2003.09.008.
Navarrete, S.A., Broitman, B., Wieter, E., Finke, G.R., Venegas, R.M. and Sotomayor, A. (2002) Recruitment of intertidal invertebrates in the southeast Pacific: interannual variability and the 1997–1998 El Niño. Limnology and Oceanography 47, 791802.
Palacios-Fuentes, P., Landaeta, M.F., Jahnsen-Guzmán, N., Plaza, G. and Ojeda, F.P. (2014) Hatching patterns and larval growth of a triplefin from central Chile inferred by otolith microstructure analysis. Aquatic Ecology 48, 259266. doi: 10.1007/s10452-014-9481-4.
Palacios-Fuentes, P., Landaeta, M.F., Muñoz, G., Plaza, G. and Ojeda, F.P. (2012) The effects of a parasitic copepod on the recent larval growth of a fish inhabiting rocky coasts. Parasitology Research 111, 16611671. doi: 10.1007/s00436-012-3005-8.
Palmer, A.R. and Strobeck, C. (1986) Fluctuating asymmetry: measurements, analysis, patterns. Annual Reviews in Ecology and Systematics 17, 391421.
Parada, C., Mullon, C., Roy, C., Freón, P., Hutchings, L. and van der Lingen, C.D. (2008) Does vertical migratory behaviour retain fish larvae onshore in upwelling ecosystems? A modelling study of anchovy in the southern Benguela. African Journal of Marine Science 30, 437452. doi: 10.2989/AJMS.2008.
Pattrick, P. and Strydom, N.A. (2014) The effects of exposure in sandy beach surf zones on larval fishes. Journal of Fish Biology 84, 13541376. doi: 10.1111/jfb.12360.
Plaza, G., Katayama, S. and Omori, M. (2003) Timing of parturition, planktonic duration, and settlement patterns of the black rockfish, Sebastes inermis. Environmental Biology of Fishes 68, 229239.
Robertson, D.R., Petersen, C.W. and Brawn, J.D. (1990) Lunar reproductive cycles of benthic-brooding reef fishes: reflection of larval biology or adult biology. Ecological Monographs 60, 311329.
Rodríguez-Valentino, C., Landaeta, M.F., Castillo-Hidalgo, G., Bustos, C.A., Plaza, G. and Ojeda, F.P. (2015) Interannual variations in the hatching patterns, larval growth and otolith size of a sand-dwelling fish from central Chile. Helgoland Marine Research 69, 293303. doi: 10.1007/s10152-015-0438-3.
Searcy, S.P. and Sponaugle, S. (2000) Variable larval growth in a coral reef fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series 206, 213226.
Somarakis, S., Kostikas, I., Peristeraki, N. and Tsimenides, N. (1997) Fluctuating asymmetry in the otoliths of larval anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus and the use of developmental instability as an indicator of condition in larval fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series 151, 191203. doi: 10.3354/meps151191.
Tapia, F.J., Largier, J.L., Castillo, M., Wieters, E.A. and Navarrete, S.A. (2015) Latitudinal discontinuity in thermal conditions along the nearshore of northern-central Chile. PLoS ONE 9, e110841. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110841.
Watanabe, Y., Ochiai, S.-i. and Fukamichi, K. (2014) Larval growth rates differ in response to seasonal temperature variations among clupeoid species inhabiting the Pacific coastal waters of Japan. Fisheries Science 80, 4351. doi: 10.1007/s12562-013-0684-8.
Watson, W. (2009) Larval development in blennies. In Patzner, R.A., Gonçalves, E.J., Hastings, P.A. and Kapoor, B.J. (eds), The biology of blennies. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Wieters, E.A., Kaplan, D.M., Navarrete, S.A., Sotomayor, A., Largier, J., Nielsen, K.J. and Véliz, F. (2003) Alongshore and temporal variability in chlorophyll a concentration in Chilean nearshore waters. Marine Ecology Progress Series 249, 93105.
Zakharov, V.M. and Graham, H.J. (1992) Developmental stability in natural populations. Acta Zoologica Fennicia 191, 730.
Zar, J.H. (2010) Biostatistical analysis, 5th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Zenteno, J.I., Bustos, C.A. and Landaeta, M.F. (2014) Larval growth, condition and fluctuating asymmetry in the otoliths of a mesopelagic fish in an area influenced by a large Patagonian glacier. Marine Biology Research 10, 504514. doi: 10.1080/17451000.2013.831176.


Seasonal variations in early life traits of Sindoscopus australis (Blennioidei: Dactyloscopidae): hatching patterns, larval growth and bilateral asymmetry of otoliths

  • Gissella Castillo-Hidalgo (a1), Guido Plaza (a2), Macarena Díaz-Astudillo (a1) and Mauricio F. Landaeta (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed