Fishes of the family Gerreidae are an important resource in tropical and sub-tropical coastal lagoons. They ranked among the top abundant species in Sepetiba Bay (305 km2), a Brazilian lagoon communicating with the sea in Rio de Janeiro State. Monthly fish sampling with a
beach seine, between July 1993 and June 1994, at five fixed sites, revealed seasonal and spatial trends in their relative abundance and early life cycles. Two of the five species recorded, Diapterus rhombeus and Gerres aprion, occurred at all sites at some time and contributed
approximately 95% of the total gerreids caught. Highly variable in their occurrence by both month and site, these species tended to be more abundant in the shallow mid-continental margin of the Bay, during the Autumn. This high abundance coincided with decreasing temperature and stable salinity
and transparency. For G. aprion there were indications of an ample period of recruitment, from November to June, while D. rhombeus showed multiple influxes of juveniles, mainly from February to May. Post recruitment both species move early in their development to deeper areas
in the Bay.
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