Temporal and along-shelf distribution of the larval fish assemblage at Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Marta Moyano and Santiago Hernández-León

Temporal and spatial variations of the larval fish community off the island of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) were studied in weekly surveys from October 2005 to June 2006. A total of 156 taxa, belonging to 51 families and 15 orders, were identified. Myctophidae was by far the most abundant family (30%), followed by Sparidae (11%), Clupeidae (9%) and Gonostomatidae (7%). As expected for an oceanic island, neritic and oceanic taxa contributed in similar proportions. Leeward and windward retention areas were found for total egg and neritic larval abundance. However, seasonality showed a stronger influence on the annual larval assemblage than sampling site, as the latter was not significant on a long time scale. Results suggest that there are two seasonal larval assemblages corresponding to the two main characteristic periods of the water column in these waters: mixing (winter) and stratification (summer). In addition, a significant relationship was recorded between lunar illumination and small mesozooplankton biomass, suggesting that this relationship may be extended to certain neritic families. The most abundant neritic larvae (Sparidae) showed this lunar pattern, which partially supports a recent hypothesis about the effect of lunar illumination on larval fish survival and development in subtropical waters.

Keywords: ichthyoplankton, larval assemblages, mesozooplankton, seasonal variation, lunar illumination
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 73S1 : 85-96 Back PDF
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