Effect of parental origin on early life history traits of European eel. Benini Elisa,Politis Sebastian N,Kottmann Johanna S,Butts Ian A E,Sørensen Sune R,Tomkiewicz Jonna Reproduction in domestic animals = Zuchthygiene Establishment of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) hatchery production will rely on selectively bred individuals that produce progeny with the best traits in successive generations. As such, this study used a quantitative genetic breeding design, between four females and nine males (four wild-caught and five cultured), to investigate the effect of paternal origin (wild-caught vs. cultured) and quantify the relative importance of parental effects, including genetic compatibility, on early life history (ELH) performance traits (i.e. fertilization success, embryonic survival at 32 hr post-fertilization, hatch success and larval deformities at 2 days post-hatch) of European eel. Wild-caught males had higher (56%) spermatocrit values than cultured males (45%), while fertilization success, embryonic survival, hatch success and larval deformities were not significantly impacted by paternal origin. This demonstrates that short-term domestication of male eels does not negatively affect offspring quality and enables the consideration of cultured male broodstock in future breeding programmes. Moreover, paternity significantly explained 9.5% of the variability in embryonic survival, providing further evidence that paternal effects need to be taken into consideration in assisted reproduction protocols. Furthermore, maternity significantly explained 54.8% of the variation for fertilization success, 61.7% for embryonic survival, 88.1% for hatching success and 62.8% for larval deformities, validating that maternity is a major factor influencing these "critical" ELH traits. At last, the parental interaction explained 12.8% of the variation for fertilization success, 8.3% for embryonic survival, 4.5% for hatch success and 20.5% for larval deformities. Thus, we conclude that eggs of one female can develop more successfully when crossed with a compatible male, highlighting the importance of mate choice for successful propagation of high-quality offspring. Together, this knowledge will improve early offspring performance, leading to future breeding programmes for this critically endangered and economically important species. 10.1111/rda.13219
    Mechanism of oocyte maturation and ovulation and its application to seed production in the Japanese eel. Kagawa H,Sakurai Y,Horiuchi R,Kazeto Y,Gen K,Imaizumi H,Masuda Y Fish physiology and biochemistry Reduction in eel resources and catches of glass eels as seedlings for aquaculture have been a serious concern in recent years in both Europe and East Asia. Thus, technical advancement to produce eel seeds for artificial cultivation is most desired. Fundamental information on oocyte maturation and ovulation and its application to artificial induction of sexual maturation are needed to produce good quality seeds of the Japanese eel. This review introduces hormonal mechanisms of cytoplasmic maturation (such as hydration, lipid coalescence, and clearing of the ooplasm) and the maturational competence (the ability to respond to maturation-inducing steroid) and nuclear maturation (germinal vesicle breakdown). In addition, previous and newly developed methods for induction of spawning have been described. 10.1007/s10695-012-9607-3
    A mechanistic model for studying the initiation of anguillid vitellogenesis by comparing the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and the shortfinned eel (A. australis). Jéhannet P,Kruijt L,Damsteegt E L,Swinkels W,Heinsbroek L T N,Lokman P M,Palstra A P General and comparative endocrinology An inverse relation exists between the maturation stage at the start of the oceanic reproductive migration and the migration distance to the spawning grounds for the various eel species. The European eel Anguilla anguilla migrates up to 5-6000 km and leaves in a previtellogenic state. The shortfinned eel A. australis migrates 2-4000 km and leaves in an early vitellogenic state. In this study, we compared the early pubertal events in European silver eels with those in silver shortfinned eels to gain insights into the initiation of vitellogenesis. Immediately after being caught, yellow and silver eels of both species were measured and sampled for blood and tissues. Eye index (EI), gonadosomatic index (GSI) and hepatosomatic index (HSI) were calculated. Plasma 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) and 17β-estradiol (E2) levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. Pituitary, liver and ovaries were dissected for quantitative real-time PCR analyses (pituitary dopamine 2b receptor d2br, gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptors 1 and 2 gnrhr1 and gnrhr2, growth hormone gh and follicle-stimulating hormone-β fshb; liver estrogen receptor 1 esr1; gonad follicle-stimulating hormone receptor fshr, androgen receptors α and β ara and arb, vitellogenin receptor vtgr and P450 aromatase cyp19). Silver eels of both species showed a drop in pituitary gh expression, progressing gonadal development (GSI of ∼1.5 in European eels and ∼3.0 in shortfinned eels) and steroid level increases. In shortfinned eels, but not European eels, expression of fshb, gnrhr1 and gnrhr2, and d2br in the pituitary was up-regulated in the silver-stage as compared to yellow-stage females, as was expression of fshr, ara and arb in the ovaries. Expression of esr1 in European eels remained low while esr1 expression was up-regulated over 100-fold in silver shortfinned eels. The mechanistic model for anguillid vitellogenesis that we present suggests a first step that involves a drop in Gh and a second step that involves Fsh increase when switching in the life history trade-off from growth to reproduction. The drop in Gh is associated with gonadal development and plasma steroid increase but precedes brain-pituitary-gonad axis (BPG) activation. The Fsh increase marks BPG activation and increased sensitivity of the liver to estrogenic stimulation, but also an increase in D2br-mediated dopaminergic signaling to the pituitary. 10.1016/j.ygcen.2019.02.018
    First Observation of a Spontaneously Matured Female European Eel (Anguilla anguilla). Palstra A P,Jéhannet P,Swinkels W,Heinsbroek L T N,Lokman P M,Vesala S,Tulonen J,Lakka T,Saukkonen S Scientific reports This study reports on the first observation of a spontaneously matured female European eel. The 43-year-old eel, together with eleven other females, resided at an aquarium house since their capture in 2002 and stocking as glass eels in 1978. In June 2019, the girth of the belly of the female increased as a sign of oocyte maturation. The specimen had an estimated gonadosomatic index (GSI) of 47, only half of the oocytes were hydrated and matured, indicating that European eels are polycyclic batch spawners. The live eels of the cohort were still in the previtellogenic phase but their eye sizes were close to that of the matured eel. We hypothesize that substances released by other maturing and spawning fishes may have triggered puberty of the eel. This first observation, and the possibility of more eels maturing in the near future, provides a natural reference for the sexual maturation of the European eel. 10.1038/s41598-020-59331-6
    Testing cryopreserved European eel sperm for hybridization (A. japonica × A. anguilla). Müller Tamás,Matsubara Hajime,Kubara Yuki,Horváth Ákos,Kolics Balázs,Taller János,Stéger Viktor,Kovács Balázs,Horváth László,Asturiano Juan F,Peñaranda David S,Urbányi Béla Theriogenology The objective of this study was to assess impact of cryopreserved European eel sperm and Japanese eel native sperm on early fertilization, hatch, survival, and malformation rates of larvae, as well as develop molecular techniques to distinguish different eel species. Eggs from Japanese eel females (Anguilla japonica) were artificially fertilized with sperm of Japanese eel males and cryopreserved sperm from European eel (A. anguilla, extender was modified Tanaka solution and methanol as cryoprotectant). There were no statistical differences (p > 0.05) among the measured parameters such as fertilization, hatch and survival after 10 days post-hatch rates due to large individual differences. The malformation rate of larvae compared to the hatching rate was higher in cryopreserved groups than in the control indicating that the methodology needs further refinement. Genetic analyses (PCR-RFLP, PCR-HRM) proved a clear result in the detection of paternal contribution in hybridization between the Japanese and the European eel and applied PCR-HRM method is a quick and cost effective tool to identify illegally imported A. anguilla at the glass eel stage, which can be transported from Europe to Asia. 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2018.02.021