An atlas of reproductive development in rockfishes, genus Sebastes

Franklin R. Shaw, J. Frank Morado, Vanessa C. Lowe, and Susanne F. McDermott

The genus Sebastes consists of over 100 fish species, all of which are viviparous and long-lived. Previous studies have presented schemes on the reproductive biology of a single targeted species of the genus Sebastes, but all appear to possess a similar reproductive biology as evidenced by this and other studies. This atlas stages major events during spermatogenesis, oogenesis, and embryogenesis, including atresia, in six species of Sebastes (S. alutus, S. elongatus, S. helvomaculatus, S. polyspinis, S. proriger, and S. zacentrus). Our study suggests that the male reproductive cycle of Sebastes is characterized by 11 phases of testicular development, with 10 stages of sperm development and 1 stage of spermatozoa atresia. Ovarian development was divided into 12 phases, with 10 stages of oocyte development, 1 stage of embryonic development, and 1 stage of oocyte atresia. Embryonic development up to parturition was divided into 33 stages following the research of Yamada and Kusakari (1991). Reproductive development of all six species examined followed the developmental classifications listed above which may apply to all species of Sebastes regardless of the number of broods produced annually. Multiple brooders vary in that not all ova are fertilized and progress to embryos; a proportion of ova are arrested at the pre-vitellogenic stage. Reproductive stage examples shown in this atlas use S. elongatus for spermatic development, S. proriger for oocyte development, and S. alutus for embryological development, because opportunistic sampling only permitted complete analysis of each respective developmental phase for those species. The results of this study and the proposed reproductive phases complement the recommended scheme submitted by Brown-Peterson et al. (2011), who call for a standardization of terminology for describing reproductive development of fishes.

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