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Variation in pelagic larval growth of Atlantic billfishes: the role of prey composition and selective mortality

Variation in pelagic larval growth of Atlantic billfishes: the role of prey composition and selective mortality,10.1007/s00227-009-1366-z,Marine Biolo

Variation in pelagic larval growth of Atlantic billfishes: the role of prey composition and selective mortality   (Citations: 3)
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Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) and sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) larvae were collected from 10 monthly cruises (June–October 2003 and 2004) across the Straits of Florida to test (1) whether growth differed between the more productive western region near the Florida shelf, and the less productive eastern region toward the Bahamas, and (2) whether growth was related to prey consumption. Examination of larval sagittal otoliths revealed that instantaneous growth and daily growth during the first 2–3 weeks of life did not vary significantly between the two regions for either species. However, recent growth during the last two full days prior to collection was greater in the west for blue marlin larvae. Recent growth of blue marlin larvae <9 mm SL (primarily zooplanktivorous) was significantly related to prey composition (faster growth when higher proportions of Farranula copepods were consumed). Western larvae grew faster and had higher proportions of Farranula in their guts. Trends for sailfish larvae were not significant. In both species, comparison of early growth between <9 and ≥9 mm SL size groups indicated that growth trajectories diverged around 5–8 mm SL, the time when billfish larvae become capable of piscivory. Significantly faster growth of larger (older) larvae suggests that mortality was selective for fast growers and that the transition to piscivory may be a critical point in the early life of billfish.
Journal: Marine Biology - MAR BIOL , vol. 157, no. 4, pp. 839-849, 2010
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    • ...Several recent studies have indicated that, for certain fish species, this area may provide a better larval habitat (as evidenced by larval feeding incidences and growth rates) as compared to other tropical and subtropical open ocean environments (Llopiz et al. 2010; Sponaugle et al. 2010)...
    • ...Spatial, temporal, and hatch size differences in recent growth were examined using ANCOVA with water temperature and larval age included as covariates to account for their relationship with larval growth (Sponaugle et al. 2010)...
    • ...Sphyraena barracuda caught in the wet season included larval fishes in their diets beginning at 8 mm SL and were exclusively piscivorous by 12 mm SL. As a result, larval S. barracuda growth in the wet season was rapid, nearing that of larval blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) and sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) in the SOF (Sponaugle et al. 2005, 2010), which begin feeding on larval fishes at smaller sizes (5 mm SL; Llopiz and Cowen 2008)...
    • ...Although seasonal differences in temperature even in the subtropics can strongly influence larval growth (Meekan et al. 2003; Sponaugle et al. 2006), variation in food availability and composition can also create spatial patterns in larval growth (Sponaugle et al. 2009, 2010) and, as demonstrated here, can influence seasonal growth patterns...

    E. K. D’Alessandroet al. Larval ecology of the great barracuda, Sphyraena barracuda , and other...

    • ... early life stages of sphyraenids (great barracuda and the closely related sennets), important apex predators on reefs and in nearshore habitats in most tropical seas (Fig. 1). Their study was part of a larger, 2-year field sampling program examining monthly changes in the abundance, distribution, and diets of ichthyoplankton along a transect spanning the Gulf Stream in the Straits of Florida (Western Atlantic) (Richardson et al. 2010; ...

    Myron A. Peck. A comprehensive view of the early life of the great barracuda: editori...

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