Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Life history of the nonnative convict cichlid Amatitlania nigrofasciata in the Haebaru Reservoir on Okinawa-jima Island, Japan.

Abstract

Life history parameters associated with reproductive biology, age, and growth of the convict cichlid (also known as the zebra cichlid) Amatitlania nigrofasciata, which was introduced into the Haebaru Reservoir on Okinawa-jima Island, were estimated using 437 specimens that ranged from 13.7 to 82.9 mm standard length (SL). Lengths of females at first maturity (SL) and 50% maturity (L50) were estimated to be 32.2 and 37.3 mm SL, respectively. The spawning period continued throughout the year, with a peak spawning cycle from March to May 2006-2007. Observations of postovulatory follicles and tertiary yolk stage oocytes indicate that convict cichlids spawn multiple times within a year. Female cichlids that hatched during the peak spawning seasons matured after October of the same year. Batch fecundity of females (32.2-61.2 mm SL) ranged from 65 to 345 (mean±SD=155±63). Opaque zones along the outer margins of otoliths formed annually. The maximum age of male and female cichlids was 3 years. The von Bertalanffy growth formulae (VBGF) were expressed as Lt=57.4(1-e-0.78(t+0.91)) for females and Lt=69.5(1-e-1.07(t+0.24)) for males. Males grew larger than females beginning from the first year. Certain life history characteristics, such as year-round spawning and early maturation, probably contributed to the successful establishment of the convict cichlid, and this species in particular is thought to adapt and become established quickly upon introduction to freshwater systems on Okinawa-jima Island.