Age And Growth Of Larvae And Spawning Time Of Atlantic Croaker In North Carollna

The age and growth of larval Atlantic croaker, Micropogonias undulatus, was determined from daily growth increments on their otoliths. Smaller and younger larvae were found offshore near probable spawning areas while larger and older larvae were found near shore and in the lower estuary. A Laird-Gompertz growth model, L(t) = 0.926 exp {2.876 [1-exp(-0.0428t)]}, described the growth of larvae to 62 days old. The agespecific growth rate, derived from this relationship, declined with fish age. Atlantic croaker spawned over a 5-month period from mid-September to late-February, with the majority probably spawning in October-November. Larvae were the same size, 9 to II mm SL, when they immigrated to the estuary in the period from late-October to mid-April, although mean age of fish entering in January and April (61 to 64 days) was almost twice that of fish entering earlier.

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