Maturation, fecundity, and intertidal spawning of Pacific sand lance in the northern Gulf of Alaska

Journal of Fish Biology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Pacific sand lance Ammodytes hexapterus in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, showed no sexual dimorphism in length-to-weight (gonad-free) ratio or length-at-age relationship. Most matured in their second year, males earlier in the season than females, but females (31%) attained a higher gonadosomatic index than males (21%). Sand lance spawned intertidally once each year in late September and October on fine gravel or sandy beaches soon after the seasonal peak in water temperatures. Sand lance in Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound displayed similar maturation schedules. Schools were dominated 2: 1 by males as they approached the intertidal zone at a site where spawning has taken place for decades. Sand lance spawned vigorously in dense formations, leaving scoured pits in beach sediments. Fecundity of females (93–199 mm) was proportional to length, ranging from 1468 to 16 081 ova per female. About half of the overall spawning school fecundity was derived from age group 1 females (55% of the school by number). Spawned eggs were 1·02 mm in diameter, demersal, slightly adhesive, and deposited in the intertidal just below the waterline. Sand lance embryos developed over 67 days through periods of intertidal exposure and sub-freezing air temperatures.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Maturation, fecundity, and intertidal spawning of Pacific sand lance in the northern Gulf of Alaska
Series title Journal of Fish Biology
DOI 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1999.tb00857.x
Volume 54
Issue 5
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 19 p.
First page 1050
Last page 1068
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Cook Inlet, Gulf of Alaska, Katchemak Bay, Prince William Sound