de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Ichthyoplankton assemblages in the Gulf of Nicoya and Golfo Dulce embayments, Pacific coast of Costa Rica

Helena Molina-Ureña



Ichthyoplakton surveys were conducted in December (rainy season), 1993 and February (dry season), 1994, during the RV Victor Hensen German-Costa Rican Expedition to the Gulf of Nicoya and Golfo Dulce. Costa Rica. Samples from the inner, central, and outer areas of each gulf were collected in oblique tows with a bongo net of 0.6 m mouth diameter, 2.5 m long and 1000-μm mesh. A total of 416 fish larvae of 22 families; were sorted out of 14 samples. Stations of both the maximum (II) and the minimum (I) family richness were located in Golfo Dulce. Mean total larval abundances were 124.9 and 197.2 individuals 10 m-2 for the Gulf of Nicoya and Golfo Dulce, respectively, while mean larval densities ranged from 95.3 larvae 10 m-2 in December to 236.7 larvae 10 m-2 in February. However, no statistical differences between gulfs or seasons were detected. due to the high within-group variability. Cluster Analysis, Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS), and non-parametric tests showed two well-defined major groups: (I) the Gulf of Nicoya neritic assemblage, represented by Engraulids, Sciaenids, and Gobiids (inner and central stations), and (2) the oceanic assemblage, dominated by Myctophids, Bregmacerotids, Ophiidids, and Trichiurids (outer stations off the Gulf of Nicoya and Golfo Dulce). A third, although less defined group, was an Ophichthid-dominated assemblage (typical in areas nearby coral or rocky reefs). These assemblages closely resemble the clusters based upon adult fish data of the beamtrawl catches of the same cruise. This publication is the first to report on the ichthyoplankton community of Golfo Dulce.


lchthyoplankton; Eastern Tropical Pacific; fish larvae distribution; zooplankton; Golfo de Nicoya; Golfo Dulce

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