Variability of Otolith Morphology and Morphometry in Eight Juvenile Fish Species in the Coastal Eastern Adriatic

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Abstract

Sagittae otoliths of eight juvenile species: Boops boops, Diplodus vulgaris, Diplodus puntazzo, Sarpa salpa (family Sparidae), Liza ramada, Liza aurata (family Mugilidae), Atherina boyeri, Atherina hepsetus (family Atherinidae) were analysed and compared using descriptive morphological characters and morphometric indices. The noticeable differences among the otoliths of the investigated species are in their overall shape, margins (i.e. irregular, sinuate or crenate) and anterior region. Otolith shape varied from elliptic to pentagonal in sparids, elliptic to rectangular in mugilids and elliptic in two atherinids. Aspect ratio (OW/OL), ratio of the sulcus length occupied by the cauda length (CL/SL) and ratio of the sulcus length occupied by the ostium length (OSL/SL) were calculated for all species. The otolith contour was described using wavelets. The Canonical Analysis of Principal Coordinates (CAP) gave an overview of the otolith shape differentiation between eight juveniles. Using the Wavelet coefficients, the first principal component (CAP1) explained 58.1% of the variation among species and the second principal component (CAP2) 25.2%.

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