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Spawning aggregations of Lutjanus cyanopterus(Cuvier) on the Belize Barrier Reef over a 6 year period

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Abstract:

Cubera snapper Lutjanus cyanopterus aggregated to spawn at Gladden Spit, a salient sub‐surface reef promontory seaward of the emergent reef and near the continental shelf edge of Belize. Their spawning aggregations typically formed 2 days before to 12 days after full moon from March to September 1998–2003 within a 45 000 m2 reef area. Peak abundance of 4000 to 10 000 individuals was observed between April and July each year, while actual spawning was most frequently observed in May. Spawning was observed consistently from 40 min before to 10 min after sunset within a confined area ≤1000 m2. Data suggested that cubera snapper consistently formed seasonal spawning aggregations in relation to location, photoperiod, water temperature and lunar cycle, and that spawning was cued by time of day but not tides. The cubera snapper aggregation site was included within the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve, a conditional no‐take fishing zone.

Keywords: lutjanids; marine reserves; predation; spawning aggregation

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-1112.2005.00714.x

Affiliations: 1: College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3148, U.S.A., 2: Environment Department, University of York, York, U.K. and Marine Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, P. O. Box 37, Punta Gorda, Belize, 3: Pacific Marine Science and Conservation, 160 Conaway Avenue, Grass Valley, California 95945, U.S.A. and 4: Friends of Nature, Placencia, Belize

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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