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Biology of the Shortfinned Eel Anguilla obscura in Lake Te Rotonui, Mitiaro, Cook Islands

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Title:Biology of the Shortfinned Eel Anguilla obscura in Lake Te Rotonui, Mitiaro, Cook Islands
Authors:Jellyman, D.J.
Date Issued:Oct 1991
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Jellyman DJ. 1991. Biology of the shortfinned Eel Anguilla obscura in Lake Te Rotonui, Mitiaro, Cook Islands. Pac Sci 45(4): 362-373.
Abstract:Lake Te Rotonui, a shallow depression lake in the center of
Mitiaro Island, southern Cook Islands, contains freshwater eels despite having
no surface connection to the sea. During a survey of the eel population in July
1988, all of the 287 eels captured using fyke nets and gaffs were Anguilla obscura,
although it is possible that A. megastoma and perhaps A. marmorata also occur
in small numbers. Ages of eels were found from burnt otoliths; it was assumed
that otolith zones were formed annually, although this could not be validated.
Growth rates were slower than those of other tropical eel species, being similar
to those of temperate species. Eels fed exclusively on Oreochromis mossambica,
which was abundant in the lake. The relatively slow growth in the presence of
abundant food may be due to high and stressful summer water temperatures.
From length and age frequency distributions, it is suggested that recruitment of
glass-eels into the lake is intermittent and via submarine outfalls. A review of
the limited larval information suggested that A. obscura spawns to the east of
Tahiti, with larvae transported west and south by the South Equatorial Current.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 45, Number 4, 1991

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