Distribution and ecology of lancelets (order Amphioxi) over the continental shelf of the south-eastern United States

Cory, R.L.; Pierce, E.L.

Limnology and Oceanography 12(4): 650-656


ISSN/ISBN: 0024-3590
DOI: 10.4319/lo.1967.12.4.0650
Accession: 068500699

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The lancelet Branchiostoma caribaeum Sundevall has been reported infrequently from the southeastern Atlantic Coast of the United States; no study had been made of its abundance, distribution, or ecology on the continental shelf. Lancelets were collected with a sand dredge and Campbell grab from North Carolina to Florida. Concentrations of lancelets were found south of Cape Hatteras. There is a 2 to 18 km wide belt that is rich in lancelets extending from Charleston, South Carolina, to at least Cape Kennedy, Florida. The largest numbers are off South Carolina and Georgia, where population densities reach 200/m2 (Campbell grab) or 57/liter (sand dredge). Most specimens were taken from coarse, shelly, siliceous sand. A few were occasionally collected from finer sands, but none from silt. Most were taken from depths between 10 and 30 m.