Aspects of the life history of the Atlantic croaker, Micropogon undulatus.




White, M.L.
Chittenden, M.E., Jr.

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Texas A&M University


A validated scale method of age determination is described for the Atlantic croaker, Micropogon undulatus. Two age classes were generally observed, but only one was abundant. Mean total lengths were 155-165 mm at age I and 270-280 mm at age II based on three methods of growth estimation. Fish matured near the end of their first year of life when they were about 140-170mm in total length. Spawning occurred from at least September through March but reached a peak in October. Somatic weight-length relationships varied monthly, and changes appeared to be associated with maturation and spawning. Somatic weight reached a maximum in June, and the minimum was observed in March. Maximum somatic weight loss (24%) occurred in March, but no data were obtained for December through February. In estuaries, age 0 croaker appeared to occupy soft-substrate habitat and older fish occurred near oyster reefs. Life span were only one or two years, and the total annual mortality rate was 96%. The above life history pattern appears similar for croaker found throughout the Carolinean Province. Contrasts are presented to illustrate differences in the life histories of croaker found north and south of Cape Hatteras, N.C.


54 p.


marine fish, Atlantic croaker, Micropogon undulatus, life history, growth, length