Taiwanese researchers succeed in breeding Oriental sweetlips
Central News Agency
2009-07-29 04:20 PM
Taipei, July 29 (CNA) A Taiwanese research team has succeeded in breeding Oriental sweetlips, the first time scientists anywhere in the world have been able to fully observe the tropical coral reef fish through its embryonic development, academic sources said Wednesday.

The team, headed by Leu Ming-yih, an associate research fellow at the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium's Fish Reproduction and Larviculture Laboratory, collected three subadult Oriental sweetlips from the wild for breeding five years ago.

"It seems that one of them is female and the other two are male.

The broodstock finally began to spawn April 11 and the fish fries have since grown well," said Leu.

The key to the project, Leu explained, is that the research team was able to observe and document the growth of the fries from the time they were embryos, providing a wealth of new knowledge on the species' development.

"The 108-day-old fish fries have grown to about 5 centimeters, " Leu reported, adding that the species, the Plectorhinchus vittatus, can grow to a maximum length of approximately 86 cm.

The team's research project has gained international recognition, and the prestigious journal Aquaculture has agreed to publish its research paper soon.

According to Leu, Oriental sweetlips can be found throughout the waters of the Indo-Western Pacific region. In Taiwan, the fish is primarily seen along its western and eastern coasts and in waters surrounding Green Island off southeastern Taiwan, with coral reefs as its main habitat.

Noting that the meat of the Oriental sweetlips is tender and tasty, Leu said the fish is a high-end species.

"The fish is not only a gourmet dish but also a favorite of ornamental fish breeders because of its beautiful colors and unique swimming style," Leu said.

Before the team's study, no data or documents had been available on the species' embryonic development, growth, maturity and reproduction.

Leu said his research team has been dedicated to coral reef fish species breeding and propagation since 2004, and the research has grown more pressing as marine resources become increasingly depleted due to environmental pollution.

Over the past few years, the team has bred several special coral reef fish species, including Lutjanus russellii, Pomacanthus semicirculatus and Lutjanus quinquelineatus.

The latest success in breeding Oriental sweetlips will be conducive to Taiwan's development of seawater fish species and sustainable use of marine resources, Leu said.

(By Sofia Wu)

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