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Seasonal changes in size, sex-ratio and body condition of the damselfish Chromis chromis in the central Mediterranean Sea

  • Autori: Bracciali, C; Piovano, S; Sarà, G; Giacoma, C
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2014
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Parole Chiave: damselfish, seasonal changes, body size, body condition, sex-ratio, Mediterranean Se
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Chromis chromis is one of the most abundant fish species on the Mediterranean rocky shores. Acting as a by-pass of nutrients from the pelagic to the rocky littoral system, it plays an important role as a resource provider and has a relevant function in the community assemblage. Chromis chromis has many of the characteristics required of an indicator species (e.g. it is easy to recognize in the field, small sized, widespread and abundant). In this study we focused on individual size, sex-ratio and body condition in a damselfish population occurring in a central Mediterranean marine protected area. Fishing trials on a monthly basis (April–November) allowed us to assess seasonal changes in population structure. Fish were measured and weighed and a subsample was aged and sexed. On average, males were larger than females. The allometric coefficient, b, for the whole population was 2.99; the maximum age recorded was 7.5 yr. Before reproduction sex-ratio was close to parity (M:F 1:0.78), while a larger proportion of females was captured during the reproductive period. In conclusion, our results show that the population dynamics of C. chromis is influenced by both sex and size. Since males and females have different behavioural strategies, and since the length of the spawning period is shorter in the smaller than in the larger-sized individuals, this is reflected in temporal changes observed in the population structure.