Virginia Institute of Marine Science
The tautog, Thutoga onitis (Linnaeus), ranges from Nova Scotia to South Carolina and has become a popular target for recreational and commercial fisheries. Although tautog are a multiple spawning species, reproductive potential, measured as annual fecundity, has not been estimated previously with methods (batch fecundity, spawning frequency) necessary for a species with indeterminate annual fecundity. A total of 960 tautog were collected from the mouth of the Rappahannock River in the lower Chesapeake Bay to 45 kin offshore of Virginia's coastline to investigate tautog reproductive biology in the southern portion of the species range. Tautog did not exhibit a 1:1 sex ratio; 56% were females. Male tautog reached 50% maturity at 218 mm TL, females at 224 mm TL. Tautog spawned from 7 April 1995 to 15 June 1995, at locations from the York River to 45 kin offshore. Batch fecundity estimates ranged from 2800 to 181,200 eggs per spawning for female tautog age 3-9, total length 259516 mm. Mean batch fecundity +/-SEM for female tautog ages 4-6 was 54,243 2472 eggs and 106,256 3837 eggs for females ages 7-9. Spawning frequency was estimated at 1.2 days, resulting in 58 spawning days per female in 1995. Estimates of potential annual fecundity for tautog ages 3-9 ranged from 160,000 to 10,510,000 eggs.
Middle Atlantic Bight; Adult Tautog; Fishes; Patterns; Labridae; Growth; Age
White, Geoffrey G.; Munroe, Thomas A.; and Austin, Herbert M., Reproductive Seasonality, Fecundity, And Spawning Frequency Of Tautog (Tautoga Onitis) In The Lower Chesapeake Bay And Coastal Waters Of Virginia (2003). Fishery Bulletin, 101(2), 424-442.