Larval duration of the lionfish, Pterois volitans along the Bahamian Archipelago
Larval duration of the non-native Indo-Pacific lionfish was estimated from samples collected along the Bahamian Archipelago using sagittal otoliths. Settlement marks, characterized by daily growth increments with reduced coloration, less definitive margins, and a re-orientation of the growth axes and otolith shape, were determined for 28 individuals. Settlement age was between 20 and 35 days with a mean of 26.2 days. Comparisons of settlement age to other littoral and reef fish species suggest that lionfish settlement age is moderate to relatively low. Lionfish pelagic larval duration is apparently sufficient to allow their rapid establishment and wide geographic range in the western Atlantic and Caribbean.
KeywordsLarval duration Settlement mark Daily increments Invasive species Lionfish
Many individuals aided in the gathering and processing of materials and in the preparation of this manuscript; but the authors accept sole responsibility for content. D. Squires sectioned, ground, and polished otoliths for our analysis. Members of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, specifically L. Akins, heavily supported this research through collection of specimens. We thank the Department of Marine Resources, The Bahamas for permitting the collection of lionfish in Bahamian waters. Drafts of this manuscript were improved significantly by comments by R. Muñoz, G.B. Martin, B. Victor, T. Kellison, J. Govoni and three anonymous reviewers.
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