Reproductive biology of Trachurus mediterraneus (Carangidae): a detailed study for the Marmara - Black Sea stock
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The reproductive biology of Mediterranean horse mackerel Trachurus mediterraneus was investigated in the Sea of Marmara over a one-year period. Duration and timing of the spawning season, gonad histology, oocyte development and size at sexual maturity were determined. The presence of all stages of oocytes without any distinct size hiatus indicated that oocyte development of Mediterranean horse mackerel is asynchronous with indeterminate fecundity. Spawning starts in May, peaks in July-August and ends in September. Sizes at 50% maturity were found to be 12.2 and 12.5 cm (total length) for females and males, respectively. Mean batch fecundity was calculated as 10136 +/- 703 eggs. Our results on the size at sexual maturity and batch fecundity for the Sea of Marmara differed significantly from published results from the Mediterranean Sea. We ascribe these differences to different stock structures in these seas. Our results form the basis for future reproductive biology studies on the under-studied Marmara-Black Sea stock.