Shapes of otoliths in some Baltic fish and their proportions

Mariusz R. Sapota, Violetta Dąbrowska

Paper category: Short communication
Corresponding author: Mariusz R. Sapota (
DOI: 10.2478/ohs-2019-0027
Received: 06/11/2018
Accepted: 15/03/2019
Full text: here

Citation (APA style): R. Sapota, M. & Dąbrowska, V. (2019). Shapes of otoliths in some Baltic fish and their proportions. Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies, 48(3), pp. 296-304. Retrieved 3 Oct. 2019, from doi:10.2478/ohs-2019-0027


Otoliths are bony structures inside the fish labyrinth. They are used to determine the age of fish and to identify species based on their remains. The objective of this study was to describe the shape of otoliths in adult European perch (Perca fluviatilis), Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), European sprat (Sprattus sprattus), lesser sand eel (Ammodytes tobianus), great sand eel (Hyperoplus lanceolatus), round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus), Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), European eel (Anguilla anguilla), viviparous eelpout (Zoarces viviparus), turbot (Scophthalmus maximus), European flounder (Platichthys flesus), European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) and European smelt (Osmerus eperlanus). Fish were caught in the Gulf of Gdańsk. The relationships between the size of otoliths and the length of fish were established for adult European perch, European flounder, Atlantic herring and round goby. Otoliths of taxonomically related species were similar. It was not possible to differentiate otoliths of Ammodytidae, Pleuronectidae, Scophthalamidae, Anguilidae by comparing the presented results with the literature data. Otoliths of Zoarcidae, Osmeridae, Clupeidae, Gadidae, Gobiidae, Percidae and Salmonidae were quite similar but distinguishable. In most of the investigated species, otoliths grow proportionally to the fish size. Their shape does not change during the fish life. The shape of otoliths in the round goby changes significantly. Otoliths of small fish are rounded and significantly lengthen during the growth of fish.


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