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Summer composition and distribution of the jellyfish (Cnidaria: Medusozoa) in the shelf area off the central Mexican Pacific Composición y distribución de las medusas (Cnidaria: Medusozoa) en la plataforma continental central del Pacifico mexicano

Keywords: zooplancton , plataforma continental , distribución , ecología marina , zooplankton , continental shelf , distribution , marine ecology

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The composition, distribution, and abundance of the jellyfish community of a shelf area of the Mexican tropical Pacific were surveyed during August 1988. Zooplankton samples were collected along transects on the outer and inner sectors of the continental shelf to determine the structure of the jellyfish community and its variation in this area during the rainy season. A total of 23 species were recorded, with Aglaura hemistoma, Solmundella bitentaculata, Liriope tetraphylla, Pelagia noctiluca, and Rhopalonema velatum being the most abundant. The total abundance of medusae and of the most abundant species was statistically independent of depth and distance to the coast. Hence, the total jellyfish abundance of the most abundant species, and Shannon's Diversity index had a uniform distribution in both the inner and the outer shelf; furthermore, neritic-oceanic forms and oceanic species occurred indistinctly over the entire continental shelf. On the outer shelf A. hemistoma and S. bitentaculata were most abundant; the former species, together with L. tetraphylla, weakly characterized the inner shelf jellyfish community. The narrowness of the shelf, the wide distribution of the most abundant forms, and the possible effect of local advective processes from the oceanic zone masked a definite gradient across the shelf. Three species have not been recorded previously in the Mexican Pacific: Amphinema dinema (Péron and Lesueur, 1810), Sarsia coccometra Bigelow, 1909, and Clytia mccradyi (Brooks, 1888). The finding of A. dinema is the first in the Eastern Pacific. Se estudió la composición, distribución y abundancia de la comunidad de medusas de la plataforma continental en el Pacífico mexicano durante agosto 1988. Las muestras de zooplancton provienen de transectos en las zonas externa e interna de la plataforma para determinar la estructura de la comunidad de medusas y su variación durante la época de lluvias. Se identificaron 23 especies; las más abundantes fueron Aglaura hemistoma, Solmundella bitentaculata, Liriope tetraphylla, Pelagia noctiluca y Rhopalonema velatum. La abundancia total de las medusas y la de las especies más abundantes fue estadísticamente independiente de la profundidad y de la distancia a la costa. Por tanto, la abundancia total de las medusas, la de las especies más abundantes y la diversidad de Shannon tuvieron una distribución uniforme en ambas zonas, interna y externa de la plataforma. Adicionalmente, las formas nerítico-oceánicas y las plenamente oceánicas se presentaron de manera indistinta a través de la plataforma. En la parte ext

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