By Bruce S. Miller
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Additional resources for Early Life History of Marine Fishes
Plotting of mean ova diameters, for many temperate water fishes, indicates the eggs to be spawned in the present year, and those to be spawned in future years. Laboratory Exercise 1 indicates the general technique followed in doing ova diameter measurements. Histological Examination. The best method for determining if multiple spawnings are occurring is a histological examination. This must be done if the fish species is a multiple spawner; for example, the northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax). The frequency of multiple spawning can be determined by using postovulatory follicles (cannot tell grossly, and often not clear by measuring ova diameter).
Development During incubation the embryo develops from a single cell into a complex organism. Embryonic development of fishes can be divided into three major phases: early (from fertilization until blastopore closure), middle (from blastopore closure until the tailbud is free), and late (from free tailbud until hatching). Shortly after fertilization, the cytoplasm becomes thickened at the animal pole of the egg where the nucleus occurs. Early development of fish eggs generally exhibits a meroblastic pattern of cleavage, in that the cells form only at the animal pole of the fertilized egg, and cleavage does not go through the entire yolk (as it does in holoblastic cleavage).
Here, selection favors smaller average egg size, higher fecundity, and smaller average larval size, the theory being that the increased number of eggs and larvae overwhelms or saturates the predators so that at least some eggs and larvae survive. Finally, these authors hypothesize that the inverse correlation between productivity and number of meristics is explained by the findings of others that large egg size may result in a longer embryonic and larval duration during which the meristic values are being determined and which will result in higher meristic values.