Zoological Studies

Vol. 55, 2016

(update: 2016.3.31)

Habitat Use and Migratory Life History of Salangid Icefish (Salangidae) Revealed by Otolith Sr/Ca Ratios


Jen-Chieh Shiao1,*, Chien-Yu Chen1, Jie Zhang2, and Yoshiyuki Iizuka3

1Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 10617 Taiwan
2Key Laboratory of Zoological Evolution and Systematics, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chaoyang, Beijing, 100101, China
3Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, Nangang, Taipei, Taiwan, No. 128, Academia Road, Sec. 2, Nankang, Taipei 115, Taiwan

Jen-Chieh Shiao, Chien-Yu Chen, Jie Zhang, and Yoshiyuki Iizuka (2016) Salangid icefish (Salangidae) are commercially important species and are widely distributed in lakes, rivers, estuaries, and coastal area of Asia. This study examined their habitat use and migratory patterns by analyzing otolith microstructure and Sr/Ca ratios. Neosalanx tangkahkeii and Protosalanx chinesis collected in the isolated freshwater Taihu Lake in China showed consistently low otolith Sr/Ca ratios (< 5.0 10-3, mean + 2 SD), which were used to represent the freshwater residence. Another batch of P. chinesis collected from the Yangtze River estuary of China also showed low otolith Sr/Ca ratios (< 5.5 10-3, mean + 2 SD) throughout the life history, suggesting that these fish only use freshwater environments.A group of N. tangkahkeii collected in the Pearl River estuary of China showed otolith Sr/Ca ratios between 10.0 10-3 and 30.0 10-3, indicating habitat shifts between brackish and marine environments. Salanx ariakenesis collected in the Yangtze River estuary showed variable and higher otolith Sr/Ca ratios between 1.6 10-3 and 36.5 10-3, exhibiting the diverse migratory patterns between the river and the sea with the habitat shifts occurring at the juvenile, young, and adult stages. Neosalanx anderssoni collected in the Bohai Sea, China only used marine habitats based on their consistently high otolith Sr/Ca ratios with the mean values of each fish varying between 20.7 10-3 and 24.6 10-3. The habitat use by the icefish may differ within and among species. Different migratory patterns can coexist in the same species e.g., S. ariakenesis. The euryhaline icefish, even those living in the estuary or coastal water, do not necessarily migrate between the sea and rivers, suggesting their high plasticity of habitat use and facultative anadromous behaviors.

Key words: Otolith, Sr/Ca ratios, Icefish, Life history, Migration.

*Correspondence: E-mail: jcshiao@ntu.edu.tw (JC Shiao); zhangjie@ioz.ac.cn (J Zhang).
Jen-Chieh Shiao and Jie Zhang contributed equally to this work.

Citation: Shiao JC, Chen CY, Iizuka Y. 2016. Habitat use and migratory life history of salangid icefish (Salangidae) revealed by otolith Sr/Ca ratios. Zool Stud 55:3. doi:10.6620/ZS.2016.55-03.