Fri, Jul 31, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Scientists laud sweetlips project

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A 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 from its embryonic development onward, a team leader said on Wednesday.

Leu Ming-yih (呂明毅), an associate research fellow at the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium’s Fish Reproduction and Larviculture Laboratory, headed the team, which collected three non-adult 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 on April 11 and the fish fries have grown well,” Leu said.

The key to the project, Leu said, was the 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 5cm,” Leu said, adding that the species, plectorhinchus vittatus, can grow to a maximum length of 86cm.

The research project has gained international recognition and the journal Aquaculture has agreed to publish its research paper.

Leu said Oriental sweetlips can be found throughout the waters of the Indo-Western Pacific region. Around Taiwan, the fish is primarily seen along the east and west coasts and in waters surrounding Green Island, with coral reefs as its main habitat.

The meat of the Oriental sweetlip is tender and tasty, Leu said, and 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.

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