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Population biology of Stellifer rastrifer, S. brasiliensis and S. stellifer in Caraguatatuba Bay, northern coast of S o Paulo, Brazil

DOI: 10.1590/s1679-87592012000300001

Keywords: Stellifer , espécies simpátricas , plataforma continental rasa , distribui o espa o-temporal , caracteriza o sexual , rela o peso-comprimento , Stellifer , sympatric species , shallow continental shelf waters , spatio-temporal distribution , sexual characterization , weight-length relationship

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Abstract:

Ecosystems may reflect environmental changes in many respects, from the debilitation of individuals to alterations in community composition. Equally, population parameters may provide reliable indications of environmental changes. Members of the sciaenid fish genus Stellifer are usually very abundant where they occur, often with two or more species living in sympatry. Here, the population dynamics of three Stellifer species from southeastern Brazil were assessed. Sampling was carried out in shallow marine areas of Caraguatatuba Bay, from August 2003 to October 2004. The species evaluated were Stellifer rastrifer (n=3183), S. brasiliensis (n=357) and S. stellifer (n=116). The area under greater continental influence tended to support more, but smaller individuals. Size variations over time were similar among species and negatively correlated with Krel, which showed smooth fluctuations. The general length-frequency distribution was concentrated between 6.0 and 9.0 cm, and the great majority of females did not present mature gonads during the sampling period. The findings support the existence of a stratification by size for these species, indicating that the area is essential for the development of younger fish. Failure to consider these characteristics for the management of similar areas may have serious implications for these environments. Os ecossistemas podem refletir mudan as ambientais em muitos aspectos, desde o enfraquecimento dos indivíduos até altera es na composi o da comunidade. Do mesmo modo, os parametros populacionais podem fornecer indica es confiáveis de mudan as ambientais. Sciaenídeos do gênero Stellifer s o peixes geralmente muito abundantes e em suas popula es é frequente a ocorrência de duas ou mais espécies simpátricas. No presente trabalho, a dinamica populacional de três espécies de Stellifer do sudeste do Brasil foi avaliada. A amostragem ocorreu em águas rasas das zonas marinhas da Baía de Caraguatatuba, de agosto de 2003 a outubro de 2004. As espécies avaliadas foram Stellifer rastrifer (n = 3.183), S. brasiliensis (n = 357) e S. stellifer (n = 116). Os resultados mostraram que a área sob maior influência continental tende a suportar um número maior de indivíduos menores. Varia es de tamanho ao longo do tempo foram semelhantes entre as espécies e negativamente correlacionadas com o Krel, que apresentou flutua es suaves. De modo geral a distribui o de freqüência de comprimento ficou concentrada entre 6,0 e 9,0 cm e para a grande maioria das fêmeas as g nadas se apresentaram imaturas durante o período avaliado. Os resultad

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