Age, growth, and reproductive status of tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis) in the aggregation nearshore Jekyll Island, GA, USA
Parr, Russell Turner
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Demographic information is necessary for effective management of fish but was lacking for tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis) in Georgia (USA). Therefore, the current study evaluated age, growth, and reproduction of tripletail off the coast of Jekyll Island, GA from March - August 2009 and April - August 2010. Strong agreement (84%) between sagittal otoliths (lethal) and first dorsal spine (non-lethal) documented that both were useful for aging tripletail. Gonad histology revealed that male tripletail were in spawning condition from April – August but most female tripletail were not in spawning condition. Plasma vitellogenin was high in the few spawning-capable females captured, but generally the protein was not useful for distinguishing males from non-spawning females. Non-lethal sampling techniques may be useful for tripletail age and growth analysis as well as identification of spawning females. Future research should focus on validation of non-lethal aging techniques and vitellogenin analysis for determination of reproductive status.