Fish larvae of 36 marine fish families were obtained in plankton samples from 15 sites in Banco Chinchorro, western Mexican Caribbean Sea in September 1999 and March 2000. Fish larvae were more abundant in Chinchorro lagoon as compared to the oceanic zone. However, these high abundances
were mainly made up of larvae of Labrisomidae (21%). Higher larval abundance occurred on the leeward margin of the bank (both total and yolk-sac larvae), indicating intense spawning in this area. The number of taxa was also higher on the leeward margin, probably as result of the mixture of
faunal groups from the inshore reef and those families of oceanic origin. A cluster analysis of the stations produced two major groups; the first one formed by all inshore stations and the second one grouped all oceanic stations. The families also showed two contrasting assemblages: inshore
reef families and oceanic families. The inshore assemblage was characterized by families that spawn mainly non-pelagic eggs (Labrisomidae and Gobiidae); the oceanic assemblage was dominated by those families that spawn pelagic eggs (Myctophidae and Nomeidae). Data obtained indicate that this
area is an important spawning ground for marine fish.
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