Offshore spawning of Conger myriaster in the western North Pacific: Evidence for convergent migration strategies of anguilliform eels in the Atlantic and Pacific

Michael J. Miller, Tatsuki Yoshinaga, Jun Aoyama, Tsuguo Otake, Noritaka Mochioka, Hiroaki Kurogi, Katsumi Tsukamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The spawning area of the common Japanese conger, Conger myriaster, had remained unknown because spawning adults or its newly hatched larvae were never collected. Using genetic identification, we determined that C. myriaster spawns far offshore in the western North Pacific, just west of the spawning area of the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica. In June 2008, six newly hatched C. myriaster larvae, 5.6-6.9 mm, were collected at the eastern edge of where many small unidentified Conger leptocephali (7-20 mm) were collected previously. The offshore spawning location of C. myriaster is analogous to that of the American conger eel, Conger oceanicus, and the American eel, Anguilla rostrata, in the Sargasso Sea, suggesting that convergent evolution of large-scale reproductive migration strategies in both anguillid and conger eels has occurred in the north Atlantic and Pacific subtropical gyres. The realization that two anguillids, A. rostrata and A. japonica, and two congers, C. oceanicus and C. myriaster, have evolved almost identical migration strategies in widely separated ocean basins suggests that natural selection for larval survival and recruitment success has resulted in long offshore spawning migrations in two phylogenetically distant taxa of anguilliform eels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-543
Number of pages7
JournalNaturwissenschaften
Volume98
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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