Opsanus beta is a permanent species in the Alvarado Lagoon System (ALS), Veracruz, and eventhough it is not of economic importance, it might be actively involved in the energy transfer of the system. Currently, there is no information about the reproductive and ecological characteristics of this common fish, so this work aimed to evaluate those aspects, and to contribute with some ecological features. For this, a total of six sampling sites were selected and studied from April 2008 to December 2012. Per site, we determined fish seasonality, feeding, sex ratio, gonadosomatic index, hepatosomatic and condition factors for both sexes, as well as the fecundity and length-weight relationships. We also considered some environmental parameters such as temperature, water temperature, depth, salinity and pH. Our results on the environmental parameters analysis did not show significant differences for the study period; besides, salinity data confirmed an oligohaline environment, and the rest of the physico-chemical parameters, varied in accordance with the climatic pattern in the area. We captured a total of 519 fishes, 311 (59.9 %) males and 208 (41.1 %) females; the proportion of males resulted favorable against females throughout the study. The standard length found along the study period showed that the average was higher in males than in females. The trophic spectrum was composed of 13 food items, principally crustaceans, molluscs and fishes; in addition, cannibalism was observed over young individuals during March and April. The most advanced stages of gonadal maturation were recorded from November to March for males, and from November to February in females; generally, the Gonadosomatic index (IGS) recorded the highest values from November to April. The Hepatosomatic Index (IHS) and the Condition Factor (FC) presented an inverse relationship with the Gonadosomatic index (IGS). The fecundity of this species ranged from 96 to 428 oocytes per female. The weight-length relationship by sexes and seasons, showed a higher growth rate for males than for females, and an allometric growth type. The biological and ecological information of O. beta in ALS evidenced the importance of this species and its ecological role in the structure and dynamics of these aquatic communities. This species may be used as a model for future proposals dealing with the management and sustainable use of this ecosystem.

Keywords: Opsanus beta, reproductive index, food, growth.