To understand the riverine life history of the amphidromous goby, Sicyopterus japonicus, studies were conducted in the Ota River, Wakayama, Japan. They were distributed from 3 to 23 km upstream from the river mouth, and abundance was higher in the middle reaches than in the upper and lower reaches. Fish were not observed in rapids during winter, suggesting a seasonal change of habitat. Body length ranged from 24 to 120 mm SL. Both females and males ranged from 1 to 6 years old, and males had larger asymptotic length than females. Condition factor showed two peaks in July and November, which appeared to correspond to the spawning season and preparation for over wintering. Gonad somatic index increased in summer with a peak in August indicating a summertime spawning season that was confirmed by collections of the newly hatched larvae migrating downstream. Eggs of 0.5 mm diameter were attached to stones and newly hatched larvae made continuous vertical movements of sinking and upward swimming and the distance of each movement was longer in freshwater than in seawater. The newly hatched larvae were collected at nighttime (19:00–24:00) mainly in August. Those larvae were very small (mean: 1.4 mm TL) with a yolk sac and no eye pigmentation. Low wintertime temperatures are likely an important determinant of the spawning and recruitment seasons and seasonal changes of activity of this species that lives at much higher latitudes than all other species of the subfamily.
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