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Population parameters and reproduction of the piranha Serrasalmus marginatus in the Negro river, Pantanal, Brazil

Vicentin, Wagner, Tondato, Karina Keyla, Silva Ferreira, Fabiane, Costa, Fábio Edir dos Santos, Súarez, Yzel Rondon
Journal of applied ichthyology 2018 v.34 no.5 pp. 1136-1144
Serrasalmus, fish, floodplains, gillnets, gonadosomatic index, growth performance, longevity, mortality, photoperiod, porous media, progeny, rain, reproduction, rivers, Brazil, Pantanal
This paper aimed to define the reproductive period and population parameters of Serrasalmus marginatus relative to local environmental features, such as day length, rainfall and mean river level. The study site was a floodplain in the Negro river, Pantanal, Brazil, and samples were collected bimonthly using gill nets and cast nets with meshes from 1.5 to 8 cm between adjacent knots. The reproduction period, as determined by gonadosomatic index (GSI) and percentage of gonad stages, varied significantly along the year (F₄,₁₁₆ = 77.5; p < 0.01), but it was well defined from October to December. Reproduction period was positively correlated with rainfall (rs = 0.97; p < 0.01) and photoperiod (rs = 0.92; p = 0.02), but not with the rise of river level (rs = 0.10; p = 0.86). Rainfall and photoperiod may act as predictive factors, providing cues to fish to begin reproduction in order to find the best conditions for offspring in the following months, during the flooding season, when the river level reaches its peak and extends to the plain. We have herein reported the first population parameters described for this species in the Brazilian Pantanal, including growth rate (k = 0.53/year), asymptotic length (L∞ = 32.74), lifespan (A₀.₉₅ = 5.65) and mortality (M = 1.11), showing that this population has better growth performance when compared to data reported for this same species in the Paraná river since the population in the Negro river is characterized by lower growth and mortality rates, and S. marginatus achieved longer lengths and lifespan. This latter parameter was compatible with six cohorts estimated by Electronic Length Frequency Analysis (ELEFAN). The size at first maturity (L50 = 18.26 cm A50 = 1.56 years) was also larger and later than the population in the Paraná river, likely a consequence of the the lower mortality and the maintenance of larger specimens in the Negro river.