Mesoscale distribution and assemblage structure of fish larvae in the Kuroshio waters off eastern Taiwan

  • Hung-Yen Hsieh
  • Wen-Tseng LoEmail author
Original Paper


The mesoscale distribution of fish larvae and its relationships with oceanographic features were examined among six cruises from four seasons in the Kuroshio waters off eastern Taiwan between May 2003 and November 2004. A total of 389 taxa (including two morpho-types) of fish larvae belonging to 106 families and 204 genera were identified from the samples. Families with higher numbers of species were Myctophidae, Scombridae, Stomiidae, Paralepididae, and Gobiidae. Maurolicus japonicus (relative abundance, 7.8%), Vinciguerria nimbaria (7.4%), Sigmops gracilis (6.5%), Cyclothone alba (5.5%), and Diaphus stubby type (5.0%) were the five most abundant taxa. Fish larvae abundance was lower in February and August 2004 than in other cruises, but without spatial variation in distribution. Although the predominant species were similar among cruises, species number and diversity were higher in May 2003 and lower in August 2004. Two larval fish assemblages were distinguished, one containing mainly autumn, winter, and spring and the other mainly spring and summer collections. The taxonomically diverse larval fish assemblage demonstrated that the Kuroshio waters off eastern Taiwan are a major transition zone between tropical and subtropical faunas. These communities are enriched by northward advection of larvae and early juveniles of many tropical species into subtropical waters via the Kuroshio Current. In addition, offshore transport of neritic fish larvae also increased the diversity of the larval fish assemblage in Kuroshio waters. The distribution of fish larvae was related to oceanographic features, with surface salinity, chlorophyll, and food sources being correlated to the abundance of fish larvae.


Kuroshio Current Hydrography Spatio-temporal distribution Western North Pacific Larval transport 



We thank the captain and crew of the RV Fishery Researcher I for their field assistance in collecting zooplankton samples and oceanographic data. We also thank Prof. C.-T. Shih of National Taiwan Ocean University for his critical review and valuable comments in various stages of the manuscript. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for their constructive input and the consequent improvements to the manuscript.


This study was funded by grant from the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China to W.T. Lo (97C030200 (Kuroshio Project)).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, if applicable.

Data availability

The datasets analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Supplementary material

12526_2019_958_MOESM1_ESM.doc (122 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 122 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Marine BiologyNational Dong Hwa UniversityPingtungTaiwan
  2. 2.National Museum of Marine Biology and AquariumPingtungTaiwan
  3. 3.Institute of Marine Biotechnology and ResourcesNational Sun Yat-sen UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan

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