The Biology and Morphology of Acyrtops Beryllinus, the Emerald Clingfish
Abstract:Observations on the biology of A. beryllinus (Hildebrand & Ginsburg), the emerald clingfish are recorded. New descriptive information is provided. This species is one of the few fishes that spends its entire life cycle in the beds of Thalassia, an important community in Florida shore waters.
The life color of specimens varies from green to brown with highly variable numbers, sizes, and shapes of chromatophores. Principal caudal-fin elements are 10, dorsals 5-7, anals 5-7, pectorals 19-23, pelvics 4; and branchiostegal spines always 6. Spine-like dorsal and pectoral-fin elements are present. The lower incisors of clingfish 14.5 mm in total length and less are entire and conical but those of specimens 16.0 mm and larger are flattened and serrated. The nareal flap lengths of some specimens equal or exceed the anterior to posterior nareal distances. A continuous series of bony interorbital space/cornea diameter ratios from 0.95 to 1.64 are recorded. Acyrtops amplicirrus Briggs is placed in the synonomy of Acyrtops beryllinus.
The emerald clingfish is restricted to relatively sediment free beds of Thalassia and Thalassia-Syringodium. The major food items of emerald clingfish are Amphipoda, Isopoda, Ostracoda, and Harpacticoda. The growth rates of small specimens tested in the laboratory were high, steadily decreasing as size increased.
Males are sexually mature at about 17 mm in total length and females at about 15 mm. Reproduction occurred in water of 18°C to 30°C but apparently not in water warmer than 31°C. Females spawned repeatedly at close intervals and those of greater total lengths deposited larger numbers of eggs. The fertilization act was recorded and the embryology was studied through pro-larval escapement from the chorion at about 260 hours.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 1965
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