The role of estuarine beaches as habitats for fishes in a Brazilian subtropical environment

José Maria Souza-Conceição, Henry Louis Spach, Daliana Bordin, Delaide Frisanco, Micheli Duarte de Paula Costa


Little information exists about the dynamics of the use of estuarine beaches by fishes. The present study describes the spatial and temporal changes in the fish assemblage of the estuarine beaches of Babitonga Bay, Santa Catarina State (Brazil). A total of 13 collections were conducted at seven estuarine beaches of Babitonga Bay from August 2005 to August 2006. At each sampling site, beach seine tows parallel to the coast were made, each with a different seine net. A total of 45,874 individuals (76 taxa) (>99% juveniles) was caught in 273 samplings. Paralichthyidae and Sciaenidae had the largest number of species, followed by Carangidae, Gobiidae, Gerreidae, Engraulidae, Mugilidae and Tetraodontidae. The following taxa were the most abundant: Lycengraulis grossidens, Mugil sp., Atherinella brasiliensis, Eucinostomus sp., Harengula clupeola, Sphoeroides greeleyi, Eucinostomus argenteus and Sphoeroides testudineus, comprising 93.34% of the total catch. There were significant differences among months regarding the mean number of individuals, number of species, diversity and evenness. Considering that the conservation of the studied beaches is under constant threat, the data surveyed in this work show the necessity of conservation and management plans for these environments, important as nurseries for fishes.

Key words: juvenile fish, shallow waters, diversity, nursery, Babitonga Bay.

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