Smooth lumpsucker Aptocyclus ventricosus in the northwestern Sea of Japan: distribution and some life history traits

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Abstract

This paper is focused on horizontal, vertical, and temperature-dependent distributions, size composition of bottom and mid-water trawl catches, and biomass estimations of smooth lumpsucker Aptocyclus ventricosus (Pallas) (Cyclopteridae) within the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the northwestern Sea of Japan. This species is distributed very widely throughout the study area inhabiting both near-bottom layers and water column. It is less abundant in small bays and in the northern Tatar Strait (north to 50°N). Despite wide bathymetric (0 to 940 m) and temperature (-1.1 to +12.2 °C) ranges this species occurred mainly within the lower mesopelagic zone of 400-800 m depths and cold temperatures of -0.5-1°C. In the near-bottom layer catches of smooth lumpsucker were represented by fish with TL 5-45 cm (mean 28.1 cm, dominant lengths 29-37 cm) while in water column its TL varied 4 to 41 cm with mean 17.9 cm, most abundant were fish with TL 8-15 and 24-31 cm; the difference is associated with specific life history aspects of the species considered. Recent increase of smooth lumpsucker biomass in the study area was observed with estimated value of 3000 t in the northern Primorye.

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