, Volume 78, Issue 4, pp 333-346
Date: 29 Jul 2006

Winter spatial distribution of fish larvae assemblages relative to the hydrography of the waters surrounding Taiwan

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The aim of this study was to investigate the species composition and distribution of fish larvae in relation to hydrographic conditions in the waters surrounding Taiwan Island (TI) in February 2003. In total, 242 kinds of fish larvae belonging to 127 genera and 75 families were recognized. Among these, 109 taxa were identified to the family or genus level, others to the species level. The 12 predominant types, which constituted 71% of the total fish larvae, were Engraulis japonica, Scomber sp., Diaphus spp., Benthosema pterotum, Carangoides ferdau, Embolichthys mitsukurii, Maurolicus sp., unidentified Myctophidae, Gonostoma gracile, Trichiurus lepturus, unidentified Gobiidae, and Myctophum asperum. The distribution of fish larvae showed a clear association with water masses around TI, with higher abundances and lower species richness northwest of TI where the China Coastal Current prevails, and lower abundances and higher species diversity east of TI where the Kuroshio Current dominates. Cluster analysis distinguished three station groups and four species groups, and the distribution patterns of fish larvae also corresponded to hydrographic conditions. The total abundances of fish larvae and eight of the 12 predominant taxa showed significant and positive correlations with zooplankton abundance, which suggests that food source might be a key factor determining the abundance and distribution of fish larvae during the winter.