Alternate Title

Onshore Transport of Elopomorph Leptocephali and Glass Eels (Pisces: Osteichthyes) in the Florida Keys


The influx of elopomorph leptocephali and glass eels to Florida Bay was monitored on 160 nights from January through December 1993. Metamorphic leptocephali and glass eels were both captured in channel nets moored in Channel Five near Long Key, FL. Eighty-eight percent of the 2,811 leptocephali collected were speckled worm eels (Myrophis punctatus, n = 2,486). The remaining 12% of leptocephali consisted of nine species, including key worm eels (Ahlia egmontis, n = 153), shrimp eels (Ophichthus gomesi, n = 69), and moray eels (Gymnothorax spp., n = 33). The glass eels collected were Myrophis punctatus (n = 230) and Ahlia egmontis (n = 34). Recruitment of leptocephali and glass eels into Florida Bay was seasonal. Myrophis punctatus leptocephali recruited into Florida Bay during fall and winter and were most abundant during November-January. Peak periods of recruitment were associated with nighttime moonless flood tides, strong onshore winds, and easterly (along-shelf) winds. Ahlia egmontis leptocephali recruited during January-April. Ophichthus gomesi was the only species with major recruitment during the summer and fall (July-November). All of the glass eels were captured from January to April.