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Free Content Early Larvae of the Tarpon, Megalops Atlantica Valenciennes (Pisces: Elopidae), with Notes on Spawning in the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Channel

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A description is given of the early larval stages of the tarpon, emphasizing the pre-flexion and flexion stages, up to about 12 mm standard length. A 5.7 mm specimen retained part of the yolk sac and is the smallest tarpon larva known. At a length of about 10–11 mm flexion of the notochord occurs and dorsal and anal pterygiophores appear. Hypurals and caudal-fin rays develop at flexion; dorsal- and anal-fin rays appear somewhat later, at about 16 mm. Pelvic fins appear at about 21 mm. Maximum size before metamorphosis is about 28 mm SL. Spawning occurs in the spring and summer in the Yucatan Channel and the Gulf of Mexico. Spawning areas are located off Cozumel, off the west coast of Florida, and in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. The duration of larval life is about 3 months.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1980

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