Original Articles

Biology of the redspotted tonguesole Cynoglossus zanzibarensis (Pleuronectiformes: Cynoglossidae) on the Agulhas Bank, South Africa

Published in: South African Journal of Marine Science
Volume 22, issue 1, 2000 , pages: 185–197
DOI: 10.2989/025776100784125627


The biology of the redspotted tonguesole Cynoglossus zanzibarensis, a common African cynoglossid inhabiting the Agulhas Bank, South Africa, is described. Growth studies based on sectioned sagittal otoliths revealed that C. zanzibarensis is relatively fast-growing and long-lived, attaining ages >8 years. Growth in length was rapid in immature fish, fish attaining 56% of their maximum size within their first year. By sexual maturity, fish had attained 28% of their maximum age and 68% of their maximum length. Total length-at-age was best described by the Von Bertalanffy growth model with combined-sex growth described as Lt = 354.78(1−e−0.43 (t+1.17)) mm TL. Sexually dimorphic growth patterns were evident, females attaining larger lengths, but at a slower growth rate than males. Despite the similar mean size of adult fish, the trawl-sampled adult population was dominated by females, with a sex ratio of 1 male:2.4 females. Female C. zanzibarensis mature in their second year of life (275 mm TL), after which they spawn small, pelagic eggs throughout the year. Approximations of the rates of total, natural and fishing mortality were estimated to be 0.62, 0.48 and 0.14 year−1 respectively.

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