Juvenile and small resident fishes of Florida Bay, a critical habitat in the Everglades National Park, Florida

Allyn B. Powell, Gordon Thayer, Michael Lacroix, and Robin Cheshire

This compendium presents information on the life history, diet, and abundance and distribution of 46 of the more abundant juvenile and small resident fish species, and data on three species of seagrasses in Florida Bay, Everglades National Park. Abundance and distribution of fish data were derived from three sampling schemes: (1) an otter trawl in basins (1984–1985, 1994–2001), (2) a surface trawl in basins (1984–1985), and (3) a surface trawl in channels (1984– 1985). Results from surface trawling only included pelagic species. Collections made with an otter trawl in basins on a bi-monthly basis were emphasized. Nonparametric statistics were used to test spatial and temporal differences in the abundance of species and seagrasses. Fish species accounts were presented in four sections – Life history, Diet, Abundance and distribution, and Length-frequency distributions. Although Florida Bay is a subtropical estuary, the majority of fish species (76%) had warm-temperate affinities; i.e., only 24% were solely tropical species. The five most abundant species collected, in descending order, by (1) otter trawl in basins were: Eucinostomus gula, Lucania parva, Anchoa mitchilli, Lagodon rhomboides, and Syngnathus scovelli; (2) surface trawl in basins were: Hyporhamphus unifasciatus, Strongylura notata, Chriodorus atherinoides, Anchoa hepsetus, and Atherinomorus stipes; (3) surface trawl in channels were: Hypoatherina harringtonensis, A. stipes, A. mitchelli, H. unifasciatus, and C. atherinoides.

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