Metaschistura cristata is a small nemacheilid loach species found at a few localities only in Turkmenistan and Iran. The present study reports, for the first time, data on its biology, based on 747 specimens collected from the River Zanglanlou in north-eastern Iran. Specimens were collected at monthly intervals over two reproductive seasons from February to June 2007 and 2008. Maximum age, based on opercula readings, was 4 years for both sexes. Specimens ranged in size from 25 to 87 mm total length and weighed from 0.09 to 4.91 g. Length-weight relationships implied positive allometric growth for both sexes and the sex ratio was 1 : 1.2 in favour of females. The Gonadosomatic indicated that peak reproduction occurred during April and May, with highest average values of 1.473 ± 0.99 for males and 12.9 ± 7.14 for females in April. Oocyte diameter ranged from 0.53 to 1.46 mm, with a mean value of 0.943 mm. Absolute and relative fecundity ranged between 114-1246 eggs and 79.47-1285.71 eggs/g, respectively. Absolute fecundity and oocyte diameter to fish size (length and weight) were directly correlated, while the relationship between relative fecundity and fish size (length and weight) showed an inverse power function.
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Vol. 60 • No. 4