Importance of the Surf Zone of Exposed Sandy Beaches for the Development of Juvenile Trachinotus (Pisces, Carangidae)

by Luiz Paulo Rodrigues Cunha, Univ do Rio Grande, Rio Grande, Brazil,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Sandy beaches dominate most of the tropical and temperate coastlines. Studies of nearshore ichthyofauna, in different regions of the world, have revealed the frequent occurrence of juvenile Trachinotus. These fishes are generally included among the dominant species of the surf zone, where they spend their early stages of life. Trachinotus comprises around 20 species. In America they are commonly known as 'pompanos'. Although some species also live in subtropical and temperate zones of the world, most of them are essentially tropical. The seasonal and spatial distribution of Trachinotus has been more clearly understood as a result of bioecological studies on preferences and tolerances of each species to factors interacting within their habitat. Food availability seems to be the main reason for the high concentrations and intense activity of juvenile Trachiotus in the surf zone. This would also explain their local displacements and migrations. Since their reproductive cycle is strictly related to higher water temperature, the Trachinotus species show a geographic distribution concentrated along the oceanic borders where warm currents predominate. This distribution commonly reveals four or five species within each border. Based on the information available for several pompanos, one can conclude that the surf zones of exposed sandy beaches are an important nursery area for the development and transit of their juveniles. Therefore, any evironmental impact that could modify this habitat and/or affect the prey organisms, directly or indirectly, tends to influence the population of Trachinotus.

Subject Headings: Surf zones | Beaches | Fish and fishery management | Tropical regions | Spatial distribution | Ocean currents | Tropical soils | Shores

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