Age and growth of tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, larvae in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, with notes on relative abundance and probable spawning areas

  • Crabtree R
  • Cyr E
  • Bishop R
 et al. 
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Synopsis Leptocephali were collected in June 1981 and July 1989 over the continental shelf and slope of the Florida west coast. Tarpon larvae ranged 5.5–24.4 mm standard length (SL) and were the second most abundant leptocephalus species. Sagittae examined with compound microscopes and scanning electron microscopy had increments that were presumed to be formed daily. Increment counts made using the two microscopic techniques were not significantly different. Estimated ages ranged 2–25 days with a growth rate (± standard error) of 0.92 ± 0.04 mm d−1 The least squares linear regression equation SL = 2.78 + 0.92 (age in days) best described the relationship between estimated age and length. Adult tarpon appear to undergo a substantial spawning migration from inshore areas frequented during spring and summer to offshore spawning grounds. Spawning occurs during May, June, and July, although the spawning season may be of greater duration.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Daily increment
  • Elopomorpha
  • Fishes
  • Ichthyoplankton
  • Leptocephalus
  • Otolith

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  • Roy E. Crabtree

  • Edward C. Cyr

  • Renée E. Bishop

  • Laura M. Falkenstein

  • John M. Dean

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