Larval and settlement periods of the northern searobin (Prionotus carolinus) and the striped searobin (P. evolans)

Richard S. McBride, Michael P. Fahay, Kenneth W. Able

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study reports new information about searobin (Prionotus spp.) early life history from samples collected with a Tucker trawl (for planktonic stages) and a beam trawl (for newly settled fish) from the coastal waters of New Jersey. Northern seatobin, Prionotus carolinus, were much more numerous than striped searobin, P. evolans, often by an order of magnitude. Larval Prionotus were collected during the period July-October and their densities peaked during September. For both species, notochord flexion was complete at 6-7 mm standard length (SL) and individuals settled at 8-9 mm SL. Flexion occurred as early as 13 days after hatching and settlement occurred as late as 25 days after hatching, according to ages estimated from sagittal microincrements. Both species settled directly in continental shelf habitats without evidence of delayed metamorphosis. Spawning, larval dispersal, or settlement may have occurred within certain estuaries, particularly for P. evolans; thus collections from shelf areas alone do not permit estimates of total larval production or settlement rates. Reproductive seasonality of P. carolinus and P. evolans may vary with respect to latitude and coastal depth. In this study, hatching dates and sizes of age-0 P. carolinus varied with respect to depth or distance from the New Jersey shore. Older and larger age-0 individuals were found in deeper waters. These variations in searobin age and size appear to be the combined result of intraspecific variations in searobin reproductive seasonality and the limited capability of searobin eggs and larvae to disperse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalFishery Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science

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