Spawning areas and larval distributions of anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus in relation to environmental conditions in the Gulf of Tunis (Central Mediterranean Sea)
Keywords:eggs, larvae, Engraulis encrasicolus, spawning area, Gulf of Tunis
Early life stages of anchovy were investigated in the Gulf of Tunis by means of four seasonal surveys carried out from summer 2002 to spring 2003. Anchovy eggs and larvae were found all year round, but they were much more abundant in spring and summer. In spring, the main spawning area was located in the north of the Gulf, to the west and southwest of Zembra Island. In summer, higher egg and larva abundances were also observed to the southwest of Zembra Island, but secondary spawning grounds were detected in the vicinity of the mouths of the Rivers Majreda and Meliane. No direct correlations between sea surface temperature (SST), salinity (SSS) and chlorophyll a and the horizontal distribution of eggs and larvae were observed. However, egg distributions in all seasons and larval distributions in summer and autumn were significantly related to depth. The temporal variation of temperature seems to control the spawning intensity and the beginning of spawning seems to be triggered by the increase in SST.
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