Alternate Title

Observations on Mass Mortalities of the Sooty Eel, Bascanichthys bascanium, and the Speckled Worm Eel, Myrophis punctatus, Associated With a Fish Kill in the Mississippi Sound

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Mass mortalities of the sooty eel, Bascanichthys bascanium, and the speckled worm eel, Myrophis punctatus, were observed in association with a fish kill which occurred the morning of 18 June 1994 on the south shore of Deer Island, a nearshore barrier island located off Biloxi, Mississippi. B. bascanium and M. punctatus, as well as other fishes, were found dead and dying near the shore in reddish-brown water and along a lengthy stretch of fringing sandy beach. Both species of eels are infrequently reported from Mississippi waters but were the most abundant fishes recorded from the kill. A visual census conducted along ~1.6 km of shoreline and partially submerged tidal flat estimated eel mortalities at 8,000 individuals. The presence of highly discolored water and the lethargic behavior displayed by live eels and other fishes at the site of the kill suggested the episode may have been related to a localized phytoplankton bloom.

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