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Dispersal of yellow phase Japanese eels Anguilla japonica after recruitment in the Kojima Bay-Asahi River system, Japan

Research paper by Kenzo Kaifu, Monami Tamura, Jun Aoyama, Katsumi Tsukamoto

Indexed on: 09 Mar '10Published on: 09 Mar '10Published in: Environmental Biology of Fishes



Abstract

The density, size and age distribution were investigated for 233 eels, Anguilla japonica, sampled in fresh and brackish water areas of the Kojima Bay-Asahi River system, Okayama, Japan, to evaluate the possible patterns of dispersal of eels that recruit to this area. Migratory histories of 183 eels were categorized into 5 types depending on the Sr and Ca concentrations in their otoliths: (1) brackish water residents (74 fish, 40.4%), which settled in saline water and remained until capture; (2) freshwater residents (46 fish, 25.1%), which settled in freshwater and remained until capture; (3) upstream shifters (3 fish, 1.6%), which settled in saline water and moved upstream into freshwater; (4) downstream shifters (53 fish, 29.0%), which settled in freshwater and moved downstream into saline water; (5) multiple habitat shifters (7 fish, 3.8%), which shifted their habitats between freshwater and saline water more than twice. For eels captured in the brackish water area, fish density decreased with distance in the downstream direction, while the size and age of eels increased. For eels captured in the freshwater area, size and age were greater than those in the upper-most brackish site. These observations suggest that eels in this system initially accumulate in the lower reaches of the river and then disperse in both upstream and downstream directions following their growth.