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Site fidelity, home range, and tidal migrations of juvenile pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides, in salt marsh creeks

Site fidelity, home range, and tidal migrations of juvenile pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides, in salt marsh creeks

Environmental Biology of Fishes y; 67(3): 231-240

We conducted a series of experiments to determine the movements and fidelity of juvenile pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides, in salt marsh creeks within North Inlet Estuary, SC. In Experiment 1, we investigated the fidelity of pinfish (40-100 mm SL) at four subtidal locations (9-617 m apart) along the axis of a major creek. We trapped and marked 2,297 individuals and recaptured 15-22% of the fishes released at each site, almost all of which (99.7%) had been marked at the same location of recapture up to 3 months earlier. In Experiment 2, we investigated pinfish movements between subtidal and intertidal areas. In the 8 weeks prior to sampling 2 intertidal creeks, we marked 950 juveniles in the adjacent subtidal areas. Sampling of the 2 flooded intertidal creeks showed that 9-20% of the pinfish collected bore marks, and all had been previously marked at the subtidal site immediately adjacent to the intertidal creek. Gut analysis of 60 individuals revealed that juveniles collected from the intertidal areas at high tide had consumed about ten times more food than those collected at the subtidal sites at low tide. In Experiment 3, we determined the fidelity of recently settled pinfish (<35 mm SL) and showed that 15% of the 434 marked pinfish remained in the same area; some were at liberty up to 7 weeks. In Experiment 4, we determined home range by tagging and recapturing juvenile pinfish at sites separated by 20 m along a 200 m subtidal transect. We estimated that during periods when the intertidal zone was not accessible, the average home range was 9.4 m with only 10% of tagged fish moving greater than 20 m during the 4 month study. Our results indicate that soon after recruitment to the estuary, pinfish establish strong fidelity for sites within salt marsh creeks and exhibit tidal periodicity in both movements and feeding.

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Accession: 011365626

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DOI: 10.1023/a:1025874712710

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