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Pleuragramma antarcticum Boulenger, 1902


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Species details

Ainley D.G., Wilson P.R., Barton K.J., Ballard G., Nur N. & Karl B. 1998. Diet and foraging effort of Adélie penguins in relation to pack-ice conditions in the Southern Ross Sea. Polar Biology 20, 311–319. Andriashev A.P. 1965. A general review of the Antarctic fish fauna. In: P. Van Oye & J. Van Mieghem (Eds.) Biogeography and ecology in Antarctica, Monographiae biologicae, Vol XV. The Hague: Junk Publications, 491–550. Burns J.M., Trumble S.J., Castellini M.A. & Testa J.W. 1998. The diet of Weddell seals in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica as determined from scat collections and stable isotope analysis. Polar Biology 19, 272–282. Casaux R.J., Barrera-Oro E.R., Favero M. & Silva P. 1998. New correction factors for the quantification of fish represented in pellets of the Imperial Cormorant Phalacrocorax atriceps. Marine Ornithology 26, 35–39. Casaux R., Baroni A. & Ramon A. 2003. Diet of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella at the Danco Coast, Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology 26, 49–54. Cherel Y. & Kooyman G.L. 1998. The food of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in the Western Ross Sea (Antarctica). Marine Biology 130, 335–344. Creet S., Van Franeker J.A., Van Spanje T.M. & Wolff W.J. 1994. Diet of the pintado petrel Daption capense at King George Island, Antarctica, 1990-91. Marine Ornithology 22, 221–229. Daneri G.A. & Carlini A.R. 2002. Fish prey of Southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, at King George Island. Polar Biology 25, 739–743. DeWitt H.H. 1970. The character of the mid-water fish fauna of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. In: M.W. Holdgate (Ed.) Antarctic ecology, Vol. I, Academic Press, London, pp. 305–315. Eastman J.T. 1985, Pleuragramma antarcticum (Pisces, Nototheniidae) as food for other fishes in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Polar Biology 4, 155-160. Eastman J.T. 1999. Aspects of the biology of the icefish Dacodraco hunteri (Notothenioidei, Channichthyidae) in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Polar Biology 21, 194–196. Fuiman L.A., Davis R.W. & Williams T.M. 2002. Behavior of midwater fishes under Antarctic ice: observations by a predator. Marine Biology 140, 815–822. Hubold G. 1991. Ecology of notothenioid fish in the Weddell Sea. In: G. Di Prisco, B. Maresca & B. Tota (Eds.) Biology of Antarctic fish. Springer, Berlin, pp. 3–22. Hubold G. & Tomo A.P. 1989. Age and growth of Antarctic silverfish Pleuragramma antarcticum Boulenger 1902 from the Southern Weddell Sea and Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology 9, 205-212. Kellermann A. 1986. On the biology of early life stages of notothenioid fishes (Pisces) off the Antarctic Peninsula. Ber. Polarforsch. 31, 1-149. Kock K.H. & Kellerman A. 1991. Reproduction in Antarctic notothenioid fish. Antarctic Science 3, 125–150. La Mesa M., Vacchi M., Castelli A. & Diviacco G. 1997. Feeding ecology of two nototheniid fishes, Trematomus hansoni and Trematomus loennbergii, from Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea. Polar Biology 17, 62–68. La Mesa M., Dalù M. & Vacchi M. 2004. Trophic ecology of emerald notothen Trematomus bernacchii (Pisces, Nototheniidae) from Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea. Polar Biology 27, 721–728. Lauriano G., Vacchi M., Ainley D. & Ballare G. 2007. Observations of top predators foraging on fish in the pack ice of the Southern Ross Sea. Antarctic Science 19(4), 439-440. Lowry L.F., Testa J.W. & Calvert W. 1988. Notes on winter feeding of crabeater and leopard seals near the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology 8, 475–478. Vacchi M., La Mesa M., Dalu M. & MacDonald J. 2004, Early life stages in the life cycle of Antarctic silverfish Pleuragramma antarcticum in Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea. Antarctic Science 3, 299 – 305.


  • Pleuragramma antarcticum - Pleurogramma antarcticum - Peter Marriott
  • Pleuragramma antarcticum - Otolithes of Pleurogramma antarcticum - Busekist VJ, Vacchi M, Albertelli G
  • Pleuragramma antarcticum - Vertebrae of Pleurogramma antarcticum - Busekist VJ, Vacchi M, Albertelli G
  • Pleuragramma antarcticum - Vertebrae of Pleurogramma antarcticum - Busekist VJ, Vacchi M, Albertelli G

Species distribution

Pleuragramma antarcticum has a largely circumantarctic distribution: Weddell Sea, Bellingshausen, Ross Sea, Davis Sea, Oates, Adelie, Wilhelm, Prydz Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland and South Orkney Islands, South Georgia Island.

This is a pelagic fish found in temperatures ranging from 2.1 to -1.4 °C. It inhabits both open waters and areas of pack ice in mid-waters. P. antarcticum is described as the most dominant pelagic fish in Antarctica, accounting for over 90% of the fish community in number and biomass (DeWitt 1970, Hubold & Tomo 1989).
The most commonly reported food items of P. antarcticum include krill, copepods, amphipods, euphausiids, molluscs, polychaetes, chaetognaths and ostracods. They may also switch to cannibalism in the absence of an adequate food supply.
P. antarcticum constitutes the diet of the large Antarctic predators such as whales (Andriashev 1965; Lauriano et al. 2007), elephant seals (Daneri & Carlini 2002), fur seals (Casaux et al. 2003) and Weddell seals (Burns et al. 1998, Fuiman et al. 2002); in winter, it is even consumed by crabeater and leopard seals (Lowry et al. 1988). It is an important component of the diets of gentoo, Adélie and emperor penguins (Ainley et al. 1998, Cherel & Kooyman 1998, Polito et al. 2002), and of birds such as skuas (Mund & Miller 1995), cormorants (Casaux et al. 1998) and cape pigeons (Creet et al. 1994). It is also a regularly occurring item in gut contents of other fish (Eastman 1985, 1999).
The life cycle of P. antarcticum begins in winter (August), when adults migrate inshore to spawn off the great ice shelves of Antarctica (Kellermann 1986). Compared to other nototheniids of the high Antarctic zone, both absolute and relative fecundities of P. antarcticum are unusually high, attaining about 18,000 eggs/female and 160 eggs/g, respectively (Hubold 1991, Kock & Kellermann 1991). Unlike other species, most of which spawn large eggs on the sea bottom, P. antarcticum spawn pelagic eggs of small size (about 2 mm) floating more or less freely in the platelet ice under the sea-ice cover (Vacchi et al. 2004). As a result, egg predation by other fish species, commonly reported in benthic feeders (La Mesa et al. 1997, 2004), is probably prevented or largely reduced by the inaccessibility of this unusual brooding site.

Occurrences map

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