Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 107–117 | Cite as

New ecological information onScytalina cerdale (Pisces: Scytalinidae) from a central California rocky intertidal zone

  • Aaron Carr Setran
  • David W. Behrens


New information regarding the ecology ofScytalina cerdale was obtained over a four year period as a consequence of a long-term marine ecological study at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP), San Luis Obispo County, California. Twenty intertidal fish surveys were conducted at approximately quarterly intervals, between March 1979 and June 1983, at three separate rocky shore locations (stations). During each survey, a total of 108 square meters (36 m2 per station) was searched for fish during periods of low tide. A total of 280S. cerdale were collected, identified, measured, and released back into the same 4 m2 area, from the same intertidal station (Diablo Cove), throughout the study period. This limited intertidal occurrence most likely reflectsS. cerdale microhabitat requirements; a combination of intertidal elevation (mean = +0.3 MLLW), substratum specificity (loose gravel, 5–10mm size range, overlying a base of sand and shell fragments), and degree of wave exposure (semi-protected). Throughout the study,S. cerdale was seasonally more abundant during summer months (June through August) and less abundant during winter months (November through February). The only exception to this abundance trend followed the 1982 winter storms, which coincided with an El Niño event, whenS. cerdale abundance uncharacteristically dropped during the subsequent 1983 spring and summer surveys. Mean total lengths did not vary greatly, reflecting the absence of early juvenile fishes, and relatively high mean fish densities (3.5 fish per m2 for 20 surveys) were recorded. Qualitative comparisons betweenS. cerdale abundance and seasonal changes in water temperature indicated an inverse relationship. Gravid females, demersal egg masses, and early juvenile individuals were never observed during the four years of the study. This suggests that unlike most other intertidal fishes, particularly other blennioids,S. cerdale may not utilize the intertidal zone for reproductive and recruitment purposes; Diablo Canyon is the most southerly reported distribution for this intertidal species, and therefore, may not entirely represent the species' biology as a whole.

Key words

Blennioid Eel blenny Coastal upwelling El Niño Fringe population Geographic range Intertidal elevational range Juvenile recruitment Substratum specificity 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Carr Setran
    • 1
  • David W. Behrens
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoU.S.A.
  2. 2.Pacific Gas & Electric Research and DevelopmentSan RamonU.S.A

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