Spawning Phenology and Early Growth of Japanese Anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) off the Pacific Coast of Japan

Qinghuan Zhu, Rui Wu, Yoshio Masuda, Yutaro Takahashi, Kyu Okabe, Koji Koizumi, Atsuko Iida, Satoshi Katayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reproduction and early growth of fish are essential elements that affect recruitment and provide breakthrough points for understanding population fluctuations. In this study, larval and juvenile Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) were collected from five coastal waters off the Pacific coast of Japan in 2020 and 2021 to gain more insight into life history traits such as reproduction and early growth of this species on the basis of otolith microstructure analysis. The spawning period appeared to be related to temperature and chlorophyll-a concentrations, showing latitudinal gradient variation among fishing areas. We detected a significant positive allometric growth pattern between standard length and body weight. The Gompertz model best fits the growth of standard length, showing an initial stage of growth that was quick and accelerating. The mean daily growth rate for standard length was 0.64 ± 0.09 mm per day. A series of mixed-effect models was constructed to investigate the sources of differences in the mean growth rates among individuals. The results revealed regional variability in fish growth, with individuals in the central Pacific stock growing faster. Individuals that grew slower were heavier than those of the same length, indicating a trade-off between length growth and weight growth. The mean growth of individual fish was positively influenced by environmental factors (surface water temperature and chlorophyll-a concentration), and individuals within the same school of fish displayed a striking homogeneity of growth. Our research demonstrates the significance of including both physiological characteristics and environmental influences in early growth studies on fish.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan


  • Japanese anchovy
  • age and growth rate
  • allometric growth
  • environmental factor
  • spawning phenology


Dive into the research topics of 'Spawning Phenology and Early Growth of Japanese Anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) off the Pacific Coast of Japan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this