The utilization of an intertidal salt marsh creek by larval and juvenile fishes: Abundance, diversity and temporal variation
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The utilization of an intertidal salt marsh creek in South Carolina during January 1977 was determined by sampling every third ebb tide for 13 days. All fishes leaving the creek during that period were captured in a channel net. This procedure produced a time-series of samples which permitted analysis of the fish community occupying the intertidal creek at all times of day and night.
A total of 14,730 larval, juvenile, and adult fishes comprising at least 22 species in 16 families were collected. The most common larval and juvenile fishes wereLeiostomus xanthurus, Mugil spp.,Myrophis punctatus leptocephali,Lagodon rhomboides, Paralichthys spp., andMicropogon undulatus. Catch sizes for all species varied widely between samples. No diurnal-nocturnal pattern in catches was evident forL. xanthurus, Mugil spp.,L. rhomboides andM. undulatus. M. punctatus was taken in large numbers only when the flood tide occurred during the day, while moreParalichthys spp. larvae were taken in late afternoon-evening flood tide samples. The most common invertebrate,Palaemonetes pugio, was taken in large quantities only in late afternoon-night flood tide samples.
Three diversity indices were computed for each sample. Values for all indices varied widely between successive samples.
The results emphasize a high degree of utilization of the intertidal creek habitat by larval and juvenile fishes. The diurnal-nocturnal activity patterns of some species, and the wide variation in catch size of the other species can permit use of the intertidal salt marsh habitat with reduced competition for available space and energy.
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