Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 June 2006
The Antarctic plunderfishes Artedidraco lönnbergi and A. skottsbergi are small, bottom dwelling species inhabiting the continental shelf of the High Antarctic Zone. During cruise 97–9 of the US RV Nathaniel Palmer during the summer in the south-western Ross Sea, samples of both species were collected by means of bottom trawling. On the basis of macroscopic and histological analysis, we present the first data on the reproductive characteristics of these two plunderfishes, including gametogenesis, spawning period and absolute fecundity. Histologically, we found immature (stage I and II) and mature (stage V) females in both species, whereas developing females (stage III) were found only in A. skottsbergi. All examined male specimens of A. skottsbergi were in the final stage of spermatogenesis (stage III), whereas male A. lönnbergi were immature (stage I), mature (stage IV) and post-reproductive (stage V) individuals. In both species, spawning takes place in summer during December and January. Absolute fecundity was very low, with less than 100 and 200 oocytes in A. lönnbergi and A. skottsbergi, respectively. These data are compared with those reported in literature for other artedidraconids.