The southwestern coast of Africa, under the influence of the Benguela current, is one of the most productive areas of the world and is very rich in fish resources. The region is influenced by upwelling and water masses of tropical, subtropical, south Atlantic, and Antarctic origins,
making it one of the most hydrologically complex regions in the world. Over large portions of the Benguela region the ichthyoplankton is dominated by larvae of small pelagic-spawning fishes including the semi-pelagic goby Sufflogobius bibarbatus, the lanternfish Lampanyctodes hectoris,
and the anchovy Engraulis capensis. Hake, Merluccius spp., and horse-mackerel, Trachurus trachurus capensis, are also relatively abundant components. The spatio-temporal distribution pattern of larvae of these and other fish species is strongly influenced by hydrographic
conditions. The composition of samples collected within the region shows the influence of warm Angolan waters in the north and of Algulhas waters in the south. The central Benguela system, an area of perennial upwelling, has the lowest diversities of larvae in the system. Several species spawn
to the north and south of this area, but not within it. Analysis of species assemblages in the northern and southern Benguela region during different periods shows some persistence of species groups, but in general, species associations change over periods of months.
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