To further our understanding of recruitment, spawning areas and times and stock structure we summarized all available published and unpublished information on early life stages of king mackerel. New data, 248 larvae and small juveniles (≤50 mm SL) from 676 neuston samples (1 x 2
m 0.947 mm and 0.760 mm mesh net) collected between 1983 and 1986 from west Florida (83°W long.) and the U.S. Mexican border (26°N lat.), are included. Previously unreported data (mostly large juveniles >50 mm SL) were collected during over 105,000 h of trawling between 1952 and
1985, and from an almadraba (pound net) and shrimp trawls in Mexico in 1985, 1986 and 1987. Sampling effort appropriate for collecting early life stages of king mackerel has been extensive (>7,200 collections), but heavily concentrated in U.S. waters during warm months (April to October).
Larvae (≤10 mm SL) and small juveniles (11–50 mm SL) have been collected throughout the Gulf of Mexico (N = 1384), but mostly off Texas and between east Louisiana and northwest Florida. Most larger juveniles (>50 mm SL) have been collected off the Louisiana–Mississippi coast
and southern Mexico. Seasonal occurrences of young stages clearly delineate the spawning season in U.S. waters as May to October, with a peak in September. Spawning dates backcalculated using daily ages determined from saggital otolith microstructure suggest that juveniles collected off Mexico
were spawned January to September.
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