Volume 59

“What can archaeological otoliths of bonefish (Albula vulpes) tell us?”

Debrot, D., Posada, J.M., Antczak. A.
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Date: November, 2006

Pages: 75-78

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

City: Belize City

Country: Belize


Studies of zooarchaeological remains have focused on the reconstruction of economic and social aspects of marine resource exploitation, and recently on the reconstruction of former abundance of marine populations. The analysis of fish otoliths could contribute to document shifts in life history parameters of exploited populations. However, few studies take advantage of the growth bands recorded in archaeological otoliths to describe these parameters. In this study we use archaeological otoliths to estimate de age and length distributions of the bonefish (Albula vulpes) in the late pre-Hispanic times. Bonefish were exploited by the Valencioids Amerindians in Dos Mosquises island at Los Roques Archipelago National Park (Venezuela) in the years 1300-1500 A.D. The age composition of the pre-Hispanic catches was estimated from sectioned sagittae, and otolith weight was used to reconstruct the total length of the pre-Hispanic bonefish. The comparison between the size and age distributions of the archaeological and the modern otolith samples from Dos Mosquises island, suggest that Amerindians exploited relatively younger and smaller bonefish in the pre-Hispanic times. The use of archaeological otoliths to estimate age and lengths distributions of fish in the past may play an important role in the study of the dynamics of exploited fish populations.

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