Composition and distribution of larval fishes in New Jersey high marshes

Christopher W. Talbot, Kenneth W. Able

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The surface of the salt marsh is an important, but largely unrecognized, site for fish reproduction and larval growth. In an attempt to determine the composition and distribution of fishes utilizing these habitats, we sampled larval and juvenile fish with plankton nets, dip nets, and traps at a variety of microhabitats (tidal and nontidal ponds and ditches and the marsh surface) in three New Jersey high marshes. Two of the three marshes had been altered for mosquito control. During April to September 1980, we collected over 2,400 larvae and juveniles. All study sites were dominated by the larvae of the resident killifishes (Fundulus heteroclitus, Cyprinodon variegatus, F. luciae, and Lucania parva) and less commonly Menidia beryllina. However, the occurrence and abundance of each species varied with microhabitat. Larval production in all three marshes peaked during June–July, but extended from May until September. In most instances juveniles of the dominant fishes had microhabitat preferences similar to the larvae. High marshes may be more important for fish production than previously recognized because they serve as nursery areas for the resident killifishes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-443
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Environmental Science(all)


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