Lipid (energy) reserves of european hake (Merluccius Merluccius) in the North-Western Mediterranean

This study analyses for the first time the lipid (energy) reserves of European hake (Merluccius merluccius) in the north-western Mediterranean from an ecophysiological perspective. Results show that there is a progressive accumulation of lipids in the liver of maturing hake -where the bulk of the fat is stored- as individuals grow. Results also indicate that female pre-spawners expend much energy on reproductive activities since they present lower liver lipid reserves than juveniles and maturing individuals. Furthermore, results show that female pre-spawners with higher lipid reserves in their livers had a higher amount of lipids in their ovaries, suggesting that maternal condition (spawner quality) may affect the reproductive potential of hake. Overall, the results of this study suggest that the analysis of liver lipid reserves during pre-spawning, along with the evaluation of the gonadosomatic index and the consideration of the reproductive stage, can contribute to improve the estimation of the reproductive potential of gadoid species such as hake ​
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