Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 47(2): 227-243 



Inter-annual reproductive trait variation and spawning habitat preferences of Engraulis ringens off northern Chile

Gabriel Claramunt1, Leonardo R. Castro2, Luis A. Cubillos3, Hans-Jürgen Hirche4, Graciela Perez5 & Mauricio Braun6

1Departamento de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Arturo Prat, Casilla 121, Iquique, Chile
2Laboratorio de Oceanografía Pesquera y Ecología Larval, Centro FONDAP-COPAS y Departamento de Oceanografía, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
3Laboratorio de Evaluación de Poblaciones Marinas (EPOMAR), Departamento de Oceanografía, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
4Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Columbusstrasse D-27568, Bremerhaven, Germany
5Instituto de Fomento Pesquero, Barrio Industrial, Sitio Nº 2, Casilla 170, Iquique, Chile
6Instituto de Fomento Pesquero, Blanco 839, Casilla 8-V, Valparaíso, Chile

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Along the Humboldt Current System, the anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) is distributed between 4ºS and 42ºS. Environmental conditions differ markedly both between spawning areas and seasonally. Hence, different reproductive tactics are expected in response to the environment. Here we used information from Daily Egg Production Method surveys to study latitudinal and interannual variability of the reproductive parameters in stocks of E. ringens from the northern (18º 20’ to 26º 00’S) and southern (33º 00 to 41º 30’S) Chilean coast. The main goal was to investigate potential preferences for temperature and chlorophyll concentration in the spawning habitat and changes in the reproductive potential and egg size of anchoveta in response to the prevalent habitat conditions, mainly temperature. Temperature was not a relevant environmental variable to determine geographical position of the spawning areas in E. ringens. High chlorophyll-a concentration appears as the selected variable for spawning habitat. According to our results, the interannual changes in the body weight-fecundity relationship are related to the temperature of the environment, which affects the egg size. We postulate, therefore, that instead of searching for certain temperatures, anchoveta accommodate their offspring characteristics according to the prevalent environment (e.g., egg size, fecundity). The response of the reproductive system to temperature might be in the scale of spawning frequency, i.e., weeks.

Key words:  Spawning areas, egg production, fecundity, anchoveta