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Some aspects of the reproductive biology of albacore Thunnus alalunga from the western Mediterranean Sea

  • Sámar Saber (a1), Josetxu Ortiz de Urbina (a2), María José Gómez-Vives (a2) and David Macías (a2)


Thunnus alalunga is an important commercial tuna species widely distributed in the three major oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean population is currently classified as a data-poor stock and little is known about its basic life history parameters. This study provides the first detailed information on some aspects of the reproductive biology of T. alalunga from the western Mediterranean Sea. A total of 16 104 specimens were measured between 2005 and 2012. The overall sex ratio of females to males was 1.1:1, although the ratio was female biased in fish <70 cm fork length (LF) and male biased in those >75 cm LF. Histological analysis of the ovaries (N = 587) and the monthly variation of the gonadosomatic index for both sexes showed that spawning occurred from June to August, which is a much shorter period than the 7 months reported for T. alalunga in tropical oceanic waters. Thunnus alalunga caught during June and July are capable of spawning daily. The gonadosomatic index values for T. alalunga from the western Mediterranean were up to eight times higher than those of T. alalunga from other oceans. Histological examination of the ovaries showed that the minimum length at sexual maturity of females was 56 cm LF, which is considerably smaller than those estimated for other stocks.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: S. Saber, Departamento de Biología Animal, Universidad de Málaga, 29071 Málaga, Spain email:


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Some aspects of the reproductive biology of albacore Thunnus alalunga from the western Mediterranean Sea

  • Sámar Saber (a1), Josetxu Ortiz de Urbina (a2), María José Gómez-Vives (a2) and David Macías (a2)


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