Otolith Sr:Ca ratio and morphometry as indicators of habitat of a euryhaline species: The case of the silverside Odontesthes bonariensis

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Esteban Avigliano
Paola Villatarco
Alejandra V Volpedo


The silverside Odontesthes bonariensis is a euryhaline species native of South America and represents a very important fishing resource for the Plata Basin (Argentina and Uruguay). This study compares the Sr:Ca ratio of water as well as the Sr:Ca ratio and morphometry of the sagittal otolith of the silverside present in different environments (one salt lake, two freshwater dams, one lagoon, and one estuary) in order to evaluate the use of these variables as markers of habitat. The pattern of the Sr:Ca ratio in the water agrees with the one found in the otoliths, showing a positive relationship with the conductivity of the water. Univariate and multivariate analyses of variance indicated significant differences (P < 0.05) among the localities studied for the morphometric indices. The discriminant function analysis provided a high percentage of correctly classified individuals for the saltwater environment (100%) and the lentic water bodies and estuary (60–80%), circularity and form factor being the most relevant morphometric variables. These results indicate that the Sr:Ca ratio and otolith morphometry are good markers of habitat for this important resource.

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