Distribution and biology of prowfish (Zaprora silenus) in the northeast Pacific


Smith, Keith R., David A. Somerton, Mei-Sun Yang, and Daniel G. Nichol
Cover date: 

The prowfish (Zaprora silenus) is an infrequent component of bottom trawl catches collected on stock assessment surveys. Based on presence or absence in over 40,000 trawl catches taken throughout Alaskan waters southward to southern California, prowfish are most frequently encountered in the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands at the edge of the continental shelf. Based on data from two trawl surveys, relative abundance indicated by catch per swept area reaches a maximum between 100 m and 200 m depth and is much higher in the Aleutian Islands than in the Gulf of Alaska. Females weigh 3.7% more than males of the same length. Weight-length functions are W (g) = 0.0164 L2.92 (males) and W = 0.0170 L2.92 (females). Length at age does not differ between sexes and is described by L = 89.3(1 – e -0.181(t+0.554)), where L is total length in cm and t is age in years. Females reached 50% maturity at a length of 57.0 cm and an age of 5.1 years. Prowfish diet is almost entirely composed of gelatinous zooplankton, primarily scyphozoa and salps.