Meeting Abstract

P3.87  Friday, Jan. 6  Maternal Investment in a Short-Lived, Iteroparous Marine Fish CARTER, Ariel L*; MARTIN, Karen L; Charleston Southern University; Pepperdine University

In many marine fish species, big older females produce significantly more eggs and clutches than smaller, younger females. Females of the marine silverside fish California Grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) are able to spawn after one year, and spawn repeatedly every two weeks. A female may produce several hundred or up to 3000 large demersal eggs per clutch, potentially 18,000 eggs over the spawning season. Very few females survive to spawn more than two years. L. tenuis spawn completely out of water on sandy beaches at high tides following the full and new moons of spring and summer. Embryos incubate buried in the damp sand until hatching is environmentally cued by wave action. The large yolk of these demersal eggs may provision for large hatchlings, or for potential to extend incubation, or both. This study examines individual differences in the maternal investment between 22 clutches from different females. We found significant variability in clutch volumes, number of eggs, and egg diameters between females, as well as differences in the amount of lipid yolk. However none of these differences were correlated with maternal mass or length. Hatchling length is correlated with egg diameter but not with maternal length. We suggest that yolk provisioning of clutches may be independent of female size in L. tenuis and subject to availability of their planktonic prey resources for these short lived, iteroparous fish.