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Free Content High Concentrations of Tuna Larvae (Pisces: Scombridae) in Near-reef Waters of French Polynesia (Society and Tuamotu Islands)

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Plankton samples at 5 m and 10 m were taken weekly 100–200 m from coral reefs off each of three islands in French Polynesia (Moorea, Rangiroa, Takapoto) for 4 weeks in January–February 1989. Tuna larvae were among the most abundant fish larvae captured, and were present in 95.8% of the 72 samples taken. Thunnus spp. (T. albacares and T. alalunga), Katsuwonus pelamis, and Auxis spp. were commonly taken in moderate to large numbers. Euthynnus affinis was uncommon. The larvae were generally small with average size 2.6–3.5 mm depending on taxon and island, indicating spawning nearby. Tuna larvae were present in high concentrations. Average concentrations were well above those reported for the oceanic central Pacific, and the maximum concentration (223.7˙500 m−3) is among the highest recorded anywhere during the day. Thunnus spp. were more concentrated at 5 m than at 10 m. Other taxa did not differ in concentration between 5 and 10 m. Differences in concentration were found among the islands, but these patterns of difference varied among species. All islands had similar temporal patterns for Katsuwonus pelamis larvae, but patterns for Thunnus spp. larvae differed among islands. The implications of such high concentrations of tuna larvae so close to reefs are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1991

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