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Gonad development and spawning behaviour of artificially-matured European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.)

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

Gonadal development and spawning behaviour of artificially-matured European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) was studied. Treatment of males with Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG; 1 IU g/week) resulted in a Gonado-Somatic Index (GSI) of 10.88 ± 3.39 and spermiation. Treatment of females with carp Pituitary suspension (cPs) (20 mg cPs/kg body weight per week) resulted in oogenesis with a GSI of 20.0 ± 11.3 (n = 7), and the number of eggs per female was 1874 * 103 ± 1116 * 103; (n = 7). Ovulation of the females was induced with 17α, 20β dihydroxyprogesteron (DHP) at 2 μg/g bodyweight. Eggs of European eel were found to be non-sticky and typically pelagic. Maximum speed of eggs rising to the surface in a water column was 2.24 ± 0.33 metres (m) per hour (h). To study behaviour in a qualitative way, two females were used together with three groups of three males. During a 283 minute (min) observation of the two females, we observed female-female interaction: 'lethargic behaviour' (33.6%) vs. 'cruising together' (66.4%). In the period when males and females were together (188 min), we observed 'approaching the head region of the female' (57.7%), 'touching the operculum' (39.4%), or 'approaching the urogenital area' (2.9%) by the males (total 725 seconds (s)). Sperm release in the presence of a female took 115 s of the total approaching time of 725 s (15.9%), while in the case of male-male interaction this was only 15 s of the total period of 116 s (12.9%). Induced spawning behaviour of eels was collective and simultaneous, corresponding to spawning in a group. This is the first time group spawning behaviour has ever been observed and recorded in eels.


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