Fishes Collected in Association with Pelagic Sargassum in the Northcentral Gulf of Mexico during surveys conducted by the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, 1999-2011: A Checklist
AuthorsFranks,J;E.R.Hoffmayer;B.H.Comyns;J.R.Hendon;J.D.Tilley;D.P.Gibson;E.M.Blake;D.R.Johnson;R.S.Waller Download PDF Open PDF in Browser
A checklist of larval and juvenile fishes collected by the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) at pelagic Sargassum habitat in the northcentral Gulf of Mexico (GOM) during surveys conducted from 1999–2008 and 2010-2011 is presented. Over 25,000 specimens were collected in bongo and neuston net tows. The specimens comprised a list of 128 species representing 89 genera and 66 families. The most prominent families in terms of numeric abundance were Carangidae, Clupeidae, Scombridae, Exocoetidae, Mugilidae, Gerreidae, and Balistidae. Family Carangidae contained the greatest number of identifiable species (16), followed by Scombridae (10), Exocoetidae (9), Bothidae (7), Balistidae (4), Monacanthidae (4), and Nomeidae (4). The remaining 59 families were represented by 1 to 3 species. Sargassum habitat was considered to be features such as mats (both large and small), fields of clumps, and ‘weedlines’ associated with convergent zones or windrows. Pelagic Sargassum (Class Phaeophyta; Sargassum natans and S. fluitans), found only in the Atlantic Ocean, functions as essential habitat, often serving as a nursery, for a great diversity of fishes, invertebrates, and other marine forms. This checklist includes and expands on previous reports of larval and juvenile fishes collected at pelagic Sargassum in the northcentral GOM by the authors and published in prior GCFI Proceedings (2002, 2005).