To study space use of snappers in a putative nursery area (a Caribbean embayment with mangroves and seagrass beds) and their movement to the presumed adult habitat (a coral reef), 59 sub-adult schoolmaster snappers Lutjanus apodus (Walbaum, 1792) were caught in the embayment,
tagged individually, and surveyed from 17 to 90 d. Most fishes (n = 48) were resighted only inside the embayment: 94% of all resightings were located along the structurally complex rocky bay shoreline. The maximum linear distance between resightings was small within days (median distance moved
= 5 m), and larger across days (median distance = 34 m). Fishes showed high fidelity to daytime shelter sites: 80% of all resightings were within a 10 m radius around a 2 m wide core area of presence. Four of the largest L. apodus (size range 17.8–20.0 cm) were resighted 1–30
times (over 31 d) on the adjacent coral reef, and they showed larger maximum distances between resightings across days (median distance = 217 m) than L. apodus that were only resighted in the embayment (median distance = 28 m). This is the first study providing direct evidence of connectivity
between a putative nursery area in a tropical non-estuarine embayment and the adult coral reef habitat, based on observations of tagged fishes.
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