Biological and Taxonomic Notes on the Blue Croaker, Bairdiella Batabana
Abstract:The blue croaker, last described in 1889 by Jordan and Eigenmann as Corvula sialis, has been recently rediscovered in southwest Florida, Gulf of Campeche, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Analysis of meristic and morphological characters show this species to be very near to Bairdiella chrysura (Lacépède) and that it is a synonym of Corvula batabana (Poey) known only from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Therefore, the blue croaker has been combined with the genus Bairdiella as Bairdiella batabana (new combination).
The blue croakers from south Florida have all been collected in or near seagrass beds, mainly of the species Thalassia testudinum, Cymodocea manatorum, and Diplanthera wrightii, and feed almost exclusively on small crustaceans of the grass and associated red and brown algae. Larger individuals appear to move to deeper water near patch reefs and rocks but continue to feed on the grass bed crustaceans. Although B. batabana and B. chrysura may be collected together, there is some evidence that B. chrysura is most abundant in sparsely vegetated, muddy or sandy areas adjacent to the grass beds and feeds on fish and polychaete worms as well as on crustaceans.
The distribution of this species is spotty because of the special and local nature of its habitat but probably it has a widespread distribution in the Greater Antilles and along the Atlantic coast of Central America.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 1965
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