Alternate Title

Distribution and Abundance of Introduced Fishes in Florida's Charlotte Harbor Estuary

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A growing number of non-native fishes have been introduced into Florida waters in recent years, yet little information has been available on their distribution and abundance in southwest Florida. The ichthyofauna of the Charlotte Harbor estuary, Florida, was intensively sampled from 1989 through 2007. We collected eight introduced fish taxa: African jewelfish (Hemichromis letourneuxi), blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus), brown hoplo (Hoplosternum littorale), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), Mayan cichlid (Cichlasoma urophthalmus), sailfin catfishes (Pterygoplichthys spp.), spotted tilapia (Tilapia mariae), and walking catfish (Clarias batrachus). These fishes were found principally in tidal rivers, especially the Caloosahatchee River. Other introduced species, such as Asian swamp eel (Monopterus albus), blackchin tilapia (Sarotherodon melanotheron), and pike killifish (Belonesox belizanus), are known to occur in neighboring bay systems but have yet to be reported in the Charlotte Harbor estuary. Continued monitoring will help us detect additional species that are introduced to the estuary, expansions in the ranges of documented species, and assemblage-level changes.

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