Is fecundity in plaice (Pleuronectes platessa L.) down-regulated in response to reduced food intake during autumn?


The effect of controlling food intake during the autumn, which is the time of late vitellogenesis, on fecundity, atresia and follicle and ovary growth was examined for plaice Pleuronectes platessa. Eighteen fish were kept in individual pens and either fed on a high or low ration diet. Fish which increased in whole body condition exhibited an increase in carcass condition which means that when food intake is sufficient to maintain whole body condition some resources are used as storage. Follicle growth rate was positively correlated with change in Fulton's condition and total atresia was negatively correlated with change in Fulton's condition. Thus, the rate of vitellogenesis was dependent on the availability of an exogenous food source. Fecundity at the end of the experiment was positively correlated with mass and total length. Food intake had no effect on relative fecundity; however, fish which had a lower food intake lost mass and had a greater intensity of atresia, lowering their absolute fecundity. One fish in a very low condition at the start of the experiment skipped spawning and one fish exhibited a decrease in average follicle diameter during the experiment which is hypothesized to be a prelude to mass atresia.

Journal of Fish Biology