Reproductive characteristics of Ratabulus diversidens and Ambiserrula jugosa (Pisces: Platycephalidae) from continental shelf waters of south-eastern Australia

Lachlan M. Barnes, Charles A. Gray*, Jane E. Williamson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reproductive characteristics of co-occurring freespine flathead, Ratabulus diversidens, and mud flathead, Ambiserrula jugosa, that interact with fisheries across continental shelf waters of eastern Australia were examined. Samples were collected across three depth strata and two locations on a monthly basis over two years. Males of both species matured younger and at smaller total lengths (TL) than females. Estimated TL and age (years) at maturity (L50 and A50, respectively) of R. diversidens also varied between locations, but differences were not related to differential growth. Although some mature individuals of both species occurred year-round, they were most prevalent and gonadosomatic indices greatest, between the austral spring and autumn. Mature R. diversidens almost exclusively occurred in deeper offshore waters, whereas the opposite was evident for A. jugosa. Both species displayed asynchronous oocyte development, and were thus considered capable of spawning more than once throughout each spawning season. Potential batch fecundity was positively related to TL for R. diversidens, but not A. jugosa, possibly due to the small size of the latter species. The sex ratios for R. diversidens varied between locations and length categories, and like A. jugosa the larger categories were skewed towards females, a result of divergent growth between sexes. Macroscopic and microscopic evidence indicated both species were gonochoristic. The data provide new information for fisheries management consideration and contribute to the data-poor international knowledge base of platycephalid biology.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Aug 2021


  • Fisheries management
  • flathead
  • life history
  • maturity
  • sexual dimorphism
  • spawning


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