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Environmental influences on the spatial and temporal distribution of the puffer fish Sphoeroides greeleyi and Sphoeroides testudineus in a Brazilian subtropical estuary

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Author(s): Luís Fernando Fávaro | Elton Celton de Oliveira | Augusto de Oliveira Brunow Ventura | Nelsy Fenerich Verani

Journal: Neotropical Ichthyology
ISSN 1679-6225

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 275;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Tetraodontidae | Estuarine-residents | Closely related species | Abundance | Length structure

ABSTRACT
The spatial and temporal distribution of Sphoeroides greeleyi and Sphoeroides testudineus were established from collections (biological material and environmental data) conducted on a monthly basis from May 2000 to April 2001 in intertidal areas along the north-south axis of the estuarine complex of Paranaguá, Paraná State. In addition to characterizing a north-south spatial gradient, which fluctuates seasonally, the variation in the abiotic factors made possible the division of the estuary into three regions: north, central and south. Spatially, it was found that the number of individuals declines significantly for both species in the north-south direction of the estuary. Moreover, significant differences were found in the size of individuals across the estuarine regions. The largest S. greeleyi individuals were caught in the north, as well as the smallest S. testudineus individuals. The catches with the highest numbers of puffer fish occurred from late spring to early autumn, coinciding with the occurrence of specimens of smaller size and lower mean body mass. The results indicate that spatial and temporal variations in the environment impact the distribution patterns of both puffer fish species, suggesting that the co-occurrence of closely related species functions as a modulating factor in that distribution.A distribuição espacial e temporal de Sphoeroides greeleyi e Sphoeroides testudineus foram estabelecidas a partir de coletas (material biológico e dados ambientais) realizadas mensalmente de maio/2000 a abril/2001 em áreas intertidais, no eixo norte-sul, do complexo estuarino de Paranaguá, Estado do Paraná. A variação dos fatores abióticos coletados, além de caracterizar um gradiente espacial, no sentido norte-sul, que varia sazonalmente, possibilitou a divisão do estuário em três regiões: norte, central e sul. Espacialmente, verificou-se para ambas as espécies que o número de indivíduos decresce, significativamente, no sentido norte-sul estuarino. Ainda, foram encontradas diferenças significativas no porte dos indivíduos entre as regiões do estuário, no norte ocorreram os maiores indivíduos de S. greeleyi e os menores de S. testudineus. As maiores capturas dos baiacus ocorreram do final da primavera ao início do outono, coincidindo com a ocorrência de exemplares de menor tamanho e de menor massa corporal média. Os resultados indicam que as variações espaciais e temporais do ambiente afetam os padrões de distribuição de ambas as espécies de baiacus, sugerindo que a co-ocorrência de espécies aparentadas age como um fator modulador nesta distribuição.
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