Volume 59

The rich ichthyofaunal diversity within the mangal of the Belize offshore cays

Taylor, S.D., Reyier, E.A., Mcivor, C.C., Davis, W.M. P.
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Date: November, 2006

Pages: 401-404

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Nine Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Belize City

Country: Belize


We assessed ichthyofaunal diversity within Belizean offshore cay mangroves during three sampling events (2003-2005). A variety of sampling gears (n=9 types nets/traps) were deployed in pre-defined habitats: fringe, transition, dwarf red, internal creek, pond, sinkhole. A total of 2,586 gear sets was completed and 8,131 individuals collected, comprising 75 species. Water quality data (temperature, salinity, DO) were taken during most collections. Minnow trap data from the various micro-habitats tested indicates some overlap in assemblages. Significant differences in water quality were also noted, with the fringe presenting the best conditions and sinkhole the worst. We also conducted extensive visual surveys around the fringe at a number of cays, tallying an additional 67 species. The fringe is the most diverse (128 species) and sinkhole least (12 species). An overall total of 142 species from 55 families has therefore been documented from the cays, and all but eight species were found on Twin Cays alone. This figure is among the highest reported for oceanic mangroves in this biogeographic realm. Our comprehensive approach with a variety of gear-types in a wide range of micro-habitats, combined with visual observation, lends credence to the conclusion that most ichthyological species accounts for the mangal are often perhaps underestimates

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