Sagittal otoliths were used to determine age and growth of 605 larval and juvenile Atlantic croaker, Micropogonias undulatus, collected in the Middle Atlantic Bight and estuarine waters of Virginia. This study is the first to use age-based analysis for young Atlantic croaker collected in this region. A Laird-Gompertz model (r2=0.95) was used to describe the growth of Atlantic croaker up to 65 mm standard length (SL) and 142 days (t): SL((t)) = 2.657 exp (4.656 [1-exp (-0.0081t)]); where SL((t)) = standard length at day t. Spatial and temporal patterns in the size and age of Atlantic croaker showed a pattern of inshore immigration from offshore spawning grounds, and faster early-season growth compared with late-season growth. Back-calculated hatching dates of Atlantic croaker collected in Virginia estuaries indicated a protracted spawning period over 8 months, from early July 1987 to early February 1988, with at least 82% of spawning occurring from August to October. Regression analysis indicated that early-spawned larvae (July through August) grew more than 39% faster than late-spawned larvae (September through February). Lapillar and sagittal otoliths were compared with light microscopy; ages were under-estimated with lapillar otoliths, which were particularly inadequate in determining the age of older juveniles. The relation between SL and sagittal otolith maximum diameter was best described by a fourth order polynomial (r2=0.99) and faster-growing Atlantic croaker had larger otoliths (12%) than the same size slower-growing fish.
Original Publication Citation
Nixon, S.W., & Jones, C.M. (1997). Age and growth of larval and juvenile Atlantic croaker, Micropogonias undulatus, from the Middle Atlantic Bight and estuarine waters of Virginia. Fishery Bulletin, 95(4), 773-784.
Nixon, Stephen W. and Jones, Cynthia M., "Age and Growth of Larval and Juvenile Atlantic Croaker, Micropogonias Undulatus, from the Middle Atlantic Bight and Estuarine Waters of Virginia" (1997). OEAS Faculty Publications. 177.