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There are certain commonly used terms which need a precise definition because of existing confusion. The following definitions are recommended. All terms are defined as they relate to otoliths (Prince and Pulos, 1983; Anon., 1985):

annual zone: Structural feature of the otolith corresponding to the growth during a complete year of life.
annulus: The theoretical boundary between two successive annual zones.
check: A boundary between two growth zones, not necessarily annual.
focus: The hypothetical or real origin of the otolith; synonymous with nucleus or core.
opaque zone: A zone that inhibits the passage of light. In transmitted light opaque zones appear dark, in reflected light they appear bright (white).
radius: A defined measure from a focus to a specific point.
translucent zone:A zone that allows the passage of light. In transmitted light translucent zones appear bright, in reflected light they appear dark.
validation: The confirmation of the temporal meaning of a growth increment. Analogous to determining the accuracy of age determination; used in reference to true age.
verification: Determining the precision (reproduceability) of age determination, used in reference to the precision of estimated age.

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