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Patterns of Ontogenetic Changes in Relative Growth in the Precocial Cyprinid, Bitterling (Rhode Us Seri Ce Us)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

In order to describe patterns of relative growth during the early life-history of the bitterling Rhodeus sericeus (Pallas, 1776), we examined 21 morphometric characters. These were expressed in 24 indices as a percentage of standard length (SL) and head length (HL) respectively, and divided into groups according to their pattern of relative growth. Nine characters exhibited isometric growth (relative proportion did not change with increasing SL). Eleven characters exhibited positive allometric growth (relative proportion increased with increasing SL) and four negative allometric growth. Stabilisation of characters may occur when bitterling reach sexual maturity, however some may continue to grow allometrically during the adult period. Caudal peduncle depth factor and body shape factor were employed to describe changes in morphological indicators of locomotor activity. Both factors exhibit steep allometric growth in specimens with remnants of finfold, gradually stabilizing in immature specimens without finfold, and isometric growth during adult period. Following our results and examination of data from the literature we conclude that bitterling, although a species with a precocial form of development, still retains a larval period. However, its duration is short compared to other cyprinids. Allometric growth is a typical feature of the entire life-history of bitterling and cannot be used as an indicator of the transition from larval to juvenile period.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Vertebrate Biology Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic


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