Description of the Larval Stages of the Stromateoid Fish Ariomma melanum, and Its Abundance and Distribution in the Gulf of Mexico
The larval stages of Ariomma melanum are described from a series of specimens 2.0 mm to 24 mm SL. Specimens were collected primarily during annual spring ichthyoplankton surveys in the Gulf of Mexico from 1983 to 1987. A. melanum larvae may be identified as small as 2.0 mm based upon characters such as body shape, a bulbous occiput, and distinctive pigmentation patterns. Larvae were found primarily in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Adults are also concentrated in this area, occurring at bottom depths that ranged from 225 m to 480 m. Larvae were present at low levels throughout the year with peak abundance occurring in the spring and summer. Variation in abundance was also considerable between years. Larval A. melanum was most abundant in 1983, decreasing to a low in 1986, and was present in large numbers again in 1987. Substantial populations of A. melanum may exist along the deep shelf in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Sampling has been sporadic over the depth range of this species so real abundance is not known. However, even if the stocks are considerable, the potential for commercial exploitation is questionable at this time.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 1997
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