The biology, distribution and ecology of Lampanyctodes hectoris and Maurolicus muelleri along the South-African coast

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Lampanyctodes hectoris, commonly called lanternfish, is a myctophid and was first recorded in the South African pelagic catches in 1969. The average annual landings since then have been approximately 4% of the pelagic catch, the largest being 42 560 metric tons in 1973 (10,45% of the total landing). Maurolicus muelleri, commonly called lightfish, is a sternoptychid, and is not taken commercially. An attempt was made to document the basic biology of these two species before possible commercial fishing pressure brings about a change in these parameters. Samples of L. hectoris taken from commercial catches and research cruises, and samples of M. muelleri obtained from research cruises were analysed to obtain the biological parameters. L. hectoris spawning in the southern Benguela Current System occurs throughout the year, but mainly during the late winter to early spring with a peak in spring. M. muelleri spawning occurs throughout the year with a peak in spring/early summer and a smaller peak in winter. Maturity analysis show the same pattern, and also indicate that M. muelleri spawning has both a vertical and a horizontal dimension and its eggs were found in the temperature range 14 to 11°c.