Bothid larvae (Pleuronectiformes-Pisces) of the Indian Ocean
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The larvae of bothids were found to be sparsely distributed in the Indian Ocean, being only 7.6% in IIOE collections (1960-65) and 13.5% in FORV Sagar Sampada (1986-90) samples. They were confined mostly to the coastal waters. Their density was high in Bay of Bengal, with maximum number in Malacca Strait. Bay of Bengal may be considered as the cradle for larval bothids holding 45.9% while only 38.4% occurred in the Arabian Sea. The present report includes 23 species belonging to 9 genera from the Indian Ocean, their regional, seasonal as well as diurnal variations. Engyprosopon grandisquamis dominated contributing to 23.2% of the total larvae. Numerically the incidence of bothid larvae suggested a uniform pattern of distribution during the two monsoons. In Bay of Bengal E. grandisquamis was dominant during both the seasons with a preference for S.W. monsoon and larvae of E. cocosensis, E. latifrons, Arnoglossus tapeinosoma and Bothus pantherinus dominated during N.E. monsoon. In the Arabian Sea, eleven species were dominant in the night samples whereas in the Bay of Bengal only nine species showed affinity towards darkness. The study has enabled delineation of the spawning grounds, incidence and relative abundance thus providing data for the stock assessment and management of the economically important bothid fishery resources of the Indian Ocean.
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