Larval development of the Cape silverside, Atherina breviceps Cuv. & Val., 1835 (Teleostei, Atherinidae) from southern Africa
Lynnath E. Beckley
The egg and larval development of the Cape silverside, Atherina breviceps, are described and illustrated from material collected in the Swartvlei estuary. The eggs are spherical, 1,40-1,65 mm in diameter, with 6-12 uniformly spaced chorionic filaments attached at both ends to the chorion. The latter condition and the small size of the eggs are unique among the Atherina species. The larvae examined (5,1-15,7 mm) are elongate, have a yolk sac at hatching and are characterized by distinct body pigmentation and a prominent gas bladder. Flexion occurs between 7,6-11,2 mm, all fin elements are formed by 15,7 mm and scales develop by 20,0 mm. We compare the larval development of A.breviceps with that of other atherinids and discuss the spawning of this species and the seasonal occurrence of larvae along the southern coast of Africa.