Species composition and dynamics of larval and juvenile fishes in the surf zone of Mauritius

Sato, Naoshi; Asahida, Takashi; Terashima, Hiroaki; Hurbungs, Mira; Ida, Hitoshi
November 2007
Environmental Biology of Fishes;Nov2007, Vol. 81 Issue 2, p229
Academic Journal
The importance of the surf zone as a nursery ground for larval and juvenile fishes has been widely recognized, however the zone has yet to be studied in Mauritius. Recently, the coastal area of the island has been increasingly affected by human activities, especially by tourism. We collected fish samples with a hand pulled seine net during the period of August 2001 to March 2003 to clarify the fish fauna and the dynamics of fishes in the surf zone. Two sampling sites adjacent to river mouth areas and one sampling site adjacent to a mangrove area were selected for comparison of fish fauna in relation to environmental conditions. A total of 9,429 fish larvae and juveniles, representing at least 112 species from 48 families were collected. The abundant species were hardyhead silverside, Atherinomorus lacunosus, bluespot mullet, Valamugil seheli, and Ambassis spp., each contributing 16.2, 12.4, and 11.8% of the total number of individuals, respectively. Estuarine species dominated in the surf zone adjacent to the river mouth areas. Species composition and diversity changed seasonally. The number of fish increased during the rainy season. Species diversity increased at the turn of the seasons from the dry season to the rainy season. We conclude that species composition in each site was affected by environmental factors, such as the scale of the flux from the rivers, which is related to the precipitation. The results indicated that freshwater from the river is a trigger to aggregate larvae and juveniles in the surf zone.


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