Fecundidad en el pez vela

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A CONTRIBUTION
AMERICANUS

TO THE LIFE HISTORY CUV. AND VAL.,

AND BIOLOGY OF THE SAILFISH, ISTIOPHORUS IN FLORIDA WATERS'
GILBERT L. VOSS The Marine Laboratory, University of Miami

ABSTRACT

Thirteen specimens of post-larval and juvenile stages of the Western Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus american us, are described, ranging in standard length from 3.9 mm to 208.0 mm, and tenspecimens are illustrated, all from the Florida Current. These are compared with previously published descriptions and illustrations of young Istiophoridae. The developmental changes from post-larval to adult are described and the general biology is discussed. Florida populations of sailfish spawn during the early summer near shore and no migrations are observable in Florida waters. The food and methodsof feeding are described and the results of tagging operations are given.
INTRODUCTION

The present study is part of the results obtained from a continuing study of the life histories and biology of Florida fishes, especially the food and game fish, supported by the National Geographic Society and the Florida State Board of Conservation, and carried out by the Marine Laboratory of the Universityof Miami. In 1948 the Marine Laboratory, at the request of the Florida State Board of Conservation, initiated a study of the biology. of the sailfish in Florida waters in an attempt to solve certain conservation problems relating to this important gamefish. This study was set in progress by the present writer who carried it through for a period of one and a half years. From that period to datethe program has been carried out by Melvin Light, Winfield Brady, and H. P. Mefford, all of the fisheries section of the Marine Laboratory. During this period a tagging program was set up with the end in view of determining migrations and of settling the question of whether or not sailfish continue to live after releasing by sports fishermen. In conjunction with this, as many fish as were obtainablewere measured by the field workers at the fishing piers. Later, a large scale investigaIContribution No. 116 from the Marine Laboratory, University of Miami.

1953]

Voss: Post-Larval Sailfish

207

tion of the stomach contents of sailfish was begun and this was finally expanded to include gonadal studies. In 1953 the National Geographic Society initiated a program to be carried out bythe Marine Laboratory on the larval, post-larval and juvenile stages of the fishes found in the plankton of the Florida Current, with particular reference to the food and game fish. In the progress of this work a few small stages of the Western Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus americanus, were obtained. These small stages were supplemented by larger stages donated by Mr. J. T. Reese, taxidermist, ofFort Lauderdale. Two gaps in the series were finally filled by specimens kindly loaned by Captains Fred Stone and Vivian Bonnert of Boynton Beach, Florida. A small series of early stages was kindly supplied to the author through the courtesy of Luis R. Rivas, University of Miami Marine Laboratory. While the taxonomy of the Florida species of sailfish is still in question, the present author hasconformed to the latest usage and applied the name lstiophorus americanus Cuvier and Valenciennes, to the species found in our waters. Further study on this question is now being carried out by other investigators. For help in collecting data, specimens, and much valuable information the author wishes to thank not only the institutions and individuals named above but also Al Pflueger, taxidermist,of Miami, Lex Woolbright of Boynton Beach, Florida, and the countless charterboatmen and sports fishermen of the Florida coast who have contributed to the study.
EARLY STAGES

A survey of the literature of the sailfishes quickly indicates that the genus Istiophorus as a whole is sadly in need of taxonomic revision, despite the fact that they have long held a high place among the important...
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