Size-related habitat use, aggregation patterns and abundance of anglerfish (Lophius budegassa) in the Mediterranean Sea determined by generalized additive modelling

  • Maravelias C
  • Papaconstantinou C
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Abstract

Spatial distribution patterns of black anglerfish, Lophius budegassa were examined in relation to size category bathymetry, locational covariates, and season. Data were collected during a 2-y period (1998-1999) of quasi-synoptic seasonal sampling using demersal trawl surveys in the Aegean Sea. Generalized additive models (GAMs) were used to test the hypotheses that there was size-related variation in species' habitat associations and that the study area might serve as a nursery ground for black anglerfish. The current results supported these hypotheses. Data are presented that reveal size-dependent aggregation patterns of black anglerfish and an important habitat utilization of the north-eastern Aegean area. The modelled anglerfish abundances showed a strongly non-linear dependence on the explanatory covariates. The different size-classes exhibited significant seasonal effects and preferences for specific regions and distinct water depths. The present results also suggested that 1-y-old fish and potential spawners appeared to concentrate in the vicinity of the same areas. Two main areas of juvenile aggregations were detected in the deeper water regions of the study area on a seabed of around 300 in depth; both emerged in the proximity of the locations of larger fish. The bathymetric distribution of intermediate size anglerfish followed an inverse trend, with fish captured mainly in shallower waters. Results indicated a preferential aggregation of 1-y-old L. budegassa in the study area that is hypothesized to influence the supply of recruits to distant regions of the Aegean Sea.

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Authors

  • Christos Maravelias

  • Costas Papaconstantinou

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