Larval Distributions And Recruitment Hypotheses For Snappers And Groupers Of The South Atlantic Bight

Present taxonomic status permits discussion of larvae of vermilion snapper (Rhomboplites aurorubens), other snappers combined (Lutjanidae), and all groupers com· bined (Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). Larvae of these groups together comprise less than 1% of the total larval fish catch from neuston and bongo samplers in shelf waters of the South Atlantic Bight. Larvae of groupers and snappers are most abundant in spring and in summer respectively. Larvae are distributed in outer shelf and upper slope waters, where current is northerly. Northerly current may predominate in affecting larval drift (in which case populations may primarily be recruited from the Caribbean 01' Gulf of Mexico) or a significant proportion of larvae spawned in the Bight may be retained by currents throughout development to settling.

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