FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Volume 24 1979 Number 1
THE ORIGIN AND SEASONALITY OF THE FISH FAUNA
ON A NEW JETTY IN THE NORTHEASTERN
GULF OF MEXICO
ROBERT W. HASTINGS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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Copyright @ 1979 by the Florida State Museum of the University of Florida.
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the natural sciences, emphasizing the circum-Caribbean region.
Publication date: November 12, 1979
THE ORIGIN AND SEASONALITY OF THE FISH FAUNA
ON A NEW JETTY IN THE NORTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO
ROBERT W. HASTINGS1
SYNOPSIS: The establishment of the fish fauna on a new jetty at East Pass at the mouth
of Choctawhatchee Bay, Okaloosa County, Florida, was studied from June, 1968, to
Important components of the jetty fauna during its initial stages of development
were: (a) original residents that exhibit some attraction to reef habitats, including some
sand-beach inhabitants, several pelagic species, and a few ubiquitous estuarine species;
and (b) reef fishes originating from permanent populations on offshore reefs. The jetties
provided artificial reef-like habitat for these species and furnished shelter and food
sources on a sandy beach where such habitats were normally absent. Continued recruit-
ment of species to the jetties consisted of (a) occasional strays from other habitats in
the area, and (b) stragglers from more tropical areas carried into the northern gulf by
Reef fishes of the northern Gulf of Mexico can be divided into three groups based
upon their occurrence: (1) common species on the offshore reefs in the northern gulf that
frequently form summer populations in shallow coastal reef habitats; (2) species also
common on the offshore reefs but apparently restricted to depths greater than about
18 m and consequently not colonizing artificial reef habitats in shallow water; and (3)
typical coral reef species occurring in the northern gulf as stragglers, being carried into
the area by currents (by the Eastern Gulf Loop Current from the Caribbean Sea).
The only obvious successional change was the continued yearly increase in the
number of species on the jetties. Average counts of species numbers from July through
October were 28 in 1968, 35 in 1969, and 39 in 1970. This annual increase prevailed even
though most species were absent from December through March.
Seasonal changes in the fish fauna at the jetties were pronounced. The major
autumn decline in the number of species inshore occurred in November at about 20C.
Only 5 to 10 species were usually counted during winter. The annual increase in species
numbers began during February or March at about 15 to 20C.
A total of 204 species was recorded at the East Pass and St. Andrew jetties (a
similar but older habitat 80 km to the east). At least 150 species were common to both
habitats. In spite of minor differences observed between the two areas, the fish fauna of
the East Pass jetties has apparently reached its peak in diversity and is similar to that
of the St. Andrew jetties.
IThe author is an Associate Professor of Biology at Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey. The publication costs
were subsidized in part by a grant from the Sport Fishing Institute, Washington, D.C.
HASTINGS, ROBERT W. 1979. The Origin and Seasonality of the Fish Fauna on a
New Jetty in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci. Vol.
2 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM Vol. 24, No. 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ......... ....................................... .......... 2
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...... ........................................... 5
M ATERIALS AND M ETHODS ............................................... 5
D ESCRIPTION OF STUDY A REA ............................................ 19
SYSTEM ATIC A CCOUNTS ......... ......................................... 27
D ISCUSSION ................ .... ... .................... .......... 78
ORIGIN OF THE JETTY FISH FAUNA ..................................... 78
SUCCESSIONAL CHANGES IN THE FISH FAUNA ........................... 83
SEASONAL CHANGES IN THE FISH FAUNA ................................ 86
EFFECTS OF CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FACTORS .......................... 90
TROPHIC STRUCTURE OF THE FISH FAUNA ............................... 91
COMPARISON OF EAST PASS AND ST. ANDREW JETTIES ........... ........... 93
COMPARISON OF THE JETTIES AND OFFSHORE REEFS ............ ........... 95
RECOMMENDATONS ..... ............................................. 97
L ITERATURE C ITED ......... ............................................ 98
A PPE N D IX ........ ..................................... ............... 106
Coral reefs support a tremendous diversity of fishes. Some reef
species have rather narrow niche requirements that restrict them to
living coral reefs. However, many may occupy such habitats because
of the rich food supply usually associated with coral reefs, because of
the numerous holes and crevices that provide shelter, or in some cases,
because of an attraction to solid objects in open marine en-
vironments. Consequently, any reef-like structure that breaks the
monotony of open, flat bottoms or pelagic surface waters tends to at-
tract numerous species. Such associations are observed even in
temperate and subtropical waters where coral reefs are absent.
Reef-building corals cannot survive temperatures less than about
18C and are consequently excluded from inshore areas of the north-
ern Gulf of Mexico where winter temperatures fall considerably below
this level (Smith 1954; Lynch 1954). Natural rocky substrates (other
than estuarine oyster reefs) are also rare in coastal areas of the
northern gulf at depths less than about 12 m, so that natural habitat
suitable for reef species is generally unavailable.
However, numerous artificial structures, such as shipwrecks, pil-
ings, and rock piles, have enabled some typical reef fishes to become
established in shallow waters of the northern gulf, and some species
once considered rare are now commonly collected. Artificial habitats
such as the jetties at Port Aransas, Texas, and St. Andrew Bay,
Florida, are important for such new inhabitants (Baughman 1947,
1950a and b; Gunter and Knapp 1951; Caldwell and Briggs 1957;
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 3
FIGURE 1.-East Pass at mouth of Choctawhatchee Bay, Okaloosa County,
Florida. A. View to southeast prior to construction of jetties. B. View to northwest
after construction of jetties.
4 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Hoese 1958; Caldwell 1959; Allison 1961; Briggs et al. 1964). Addi-
tional records of such fishes in the northern gulf are given by Collins
and Smith (1959), Dawson (1962), Caldwell (1963), Haburay et al.
(1969), Haburay et al. (1974), and Moore (1975).
Man has recently begun to build artificial habitats specifically to
improve angling, and a new technology of artificial reefs has evolved.
References on artificial reefs (Carlisle et al. 1964; Stroud and Massman
1966; Unger 1966; Woodburn 1966; Oren 1968; Anon 1969; Turner et
al. 1969; Rickards 1973; Steimle and Stone 1973; Colunga and Stone
1974) include bibliographies on the subject. Although successful
studies have been made on the development of artificial reef faunas in
the Virgin Islands (Randall 1963) and off the coast of California (Car-
lisle et al. 1964; Turner et al. 1969), detailed information is unavailable
for the northern Gulf of Mexico.
An opportunity to examine the effects of an artificial reef in a
northern gulf locality was presented with the construction of a jetty at
East Pass, Choctawhatchee Bay, at Destin, Florida (Fig. 1). The in-
vestigation was begun in June, 1968, shortly after construction on the
jetties had begun, and the development of the fish fauna on this reef
system was followed, almost from the start.
Profound seasonal changes in inshore fish populations of the north-
ern gulf over-shadowed the more subtle successional changes in the
developing jetty fauna. Thus, emphasis is placed on these seasonal
changes, as well as on successional changes in the reef fish popula-
Potential sources of reef fishes to habitats such as the jetties have
also been analyzed. Many obligate reef species have pelagic eggs or lar-
val stages dispersed widely by ocean currents and depend on
availability of reef habitats for survival. Thus stragglers from other
reef habitats often occur on artificial reefs. Two reasons have been sug-
gested for the frequent occurrence of reef fishes in inshore areas of the
northern gulf. Caldwell (1959, 1963), Dawson (1962, 1963, 1970, 1971,
1972), and Haburay et al. (1969) believed that most were strays from
tropical areas and were carried into the northern gulf from the Carib-
bean. The Eastern Gulf Loop Current seasonally intrudes far into the
northern gulf (Leipper 1970) and must carry large numbers of pelagic
eggs and larvae into this area. In contrast, Caldwell (1963), Hildebrand
et al. (1964), and Sonnier et al. (1976) emphasized that many species of
supposedly "tropical" fishes were permanent residents on the sub-
tropical natural reefs offshore in the northern gulf, and that the in-
habitants of the inshore artificial reefs could represent strays from
these offshore populations, rather than strays from areas such as the
Caribbean. The seasonal occurrence patterns of reef fishes at the
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 5
jetties have been used in this study to speculate on the probable
origins of many of these species.
Thanks are extended to my fellow graduate students at Florida State University,
Stephen A. Bortone, Lawrence E. Sacks, Stephen L. Smith, Camm C. Swift, and F.
William Vockell, who often assisted during field trips. Richard B. McLean helped in the
identification of invertebrates, and William C. Roth identified the algae.
Norman G. Vick of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife Laboratory at
Panama City provided boats during the early part of the study, and later Eugene L.
Nakamura of that laboratory (renamed the Gulf Coastal Fisheries Center, National
Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA) allowed the use of the R/V Rachel Carson for diving
operations on the natural reefs offshore of St. Andrew Bay. Larry H. Ogren of that
laboratory was a dependable diving partner on many trips.
Gregory B. Smith of the University of South Florida made available unpublished
data on reef habitats of the eastern Gulf of Mexico and made helpful comments regard-
ing the composition of the fish fauna of these reefs. J. B. Siebenaler of the Ft. Walton
Beach Gulfarium provided storage space for equipment used during the study.
Several ichthyologists assisted with taxonomic problems or commented upon the
ecology of certain species: F. H. Berry, J. C. Bohlke, H. T. Boschung, Jr., B. B. Collette,
C. E. Dawson, C. R. Gilbert, E. S. Herald (deceased), E. D. Houde, G. C. Miller, W. J.
Richards, C. R. Robins, and P. J. P. Whitehead.
Special thanks are extended to Ralph W. Yerger, under whose supervision this
study was conducted, and to my wife, Diana, for her continued patience and assistance.
This research was supported in part by grants from the Sport Fishing Institute.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This study concentrated upon the fish fauna of a new jetty at East Pass, Choctaw-
hatchee Bay, Florida. Other reef structures in the area, such as the St. Andrew Bay jet-
ties and the natural reefs offshore from Choctawhatchee and St. Andrew bays, were
studied for comparative purposes. Fish species recorded at the East Pass and St. An-
drew jetties are listed in Table 1.
The study of the East Pass jetties began in June, 1968, while the jetties were being
built, and was continued through January, 1971, Using snorkel or SCUBA equipment,
fishes around the jetties were observed at least once monthly, but with weather permit-
Numbers, relative abundance, and ecological and behavioral characteristics of fish
species were recorded. When possible, specimens were collected with hand nets, fish
traps, spears, and angling. Small portions of the jetty were treated with rotenone to
allow collection of cryptic, fossorial, and nocturnal species.
Water temperature, clarity, and movement were noted during each observation
period. Water samples were taken and later analyzed for salinity using a Goldberg
Temperature-Compensated Refractometer. Measurements were read in Brix units and
then converted to salinity.
Relative numbers of each fish species were estimated using the terms "one or two,
several, common, or abundant." These data were later plotted (see Appendix Charts
1-78; referred to in text as Charts) to show relative monthly (or biweekly) occurrence for
the more numerous species, indicating the seasonal occurrence of species on the jetties.
6 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM Vol. 24, No. 1
TABLE 1,-LIST OF FISHES RECORDED AT THE EAST PASS AND ST. ANDREW JETTIES.'
Species East Pass St. Andrew
Branchiostoma floridae-Amphioxus + *
Unidentified Requiem sharks + (+)
Narcine brasiliensis-Lesser electric ray + +
Raja eglanteria-Clearnose skate +
Dasyatis sabina-Atlantic stingray + +
Dasyatis sayi-Bluntnose stingray + *
Gymnv.ra micrura-Smooth butterfly ray + *
Aetobatus narinari- Spotted eagle ray + +
Manta birostris-Atlantic manta + *
Lepisosteus osseus-Longnose gar +
Elops saurus-Ladyfish + +
Gymnothorax moringa-Spotted moray +
Gymnothorax nigromarginatus Blackedge morays + +
Gymnothorax saxicola +
Conger oceanicus-Conger eel +
Ahlia egmontis-Key worm eel +
Bascanichthys scuticaris-Whip eel +
Bascanichthys teres-Sooty eel +
Letharchus velifer-Sailfin eel + +
Myrophis punctatus-Speckled worm eel + +
Brevoortia patronus-Gulf menhaden + *
Harengula pensacolae-Scaled sardine + +
Opisthonema oglinum-Atlantic thread herring (+)
Sardinella anchovia-Spanish sardine + +
Anchoa cubana-Cuban anchovy (+)
Anchoa lyolepis-Dusky anchovy + +
Anchoa mitchilli-Bay anchovy (+)
Engraulis eurystole- Silver anchovy + -
Synodus foetens-Inshore lizardfish + +
'See last page this table for footnote
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 7
TABLE 1 CONTINUED.
Species East Pass St. Andrew
Arius felis-Sea catfish
Bagre marinus-Gafftopsail catfish
Opsanus beta-Gulf toadfish
Antennarius ocellatus-Ocellated frogfish
Antennarius radiosus-Singlespot frogfish
Ogcocephalus radiatus-Polka-dot batfish
Urophycis floridanus-Southern hake
Urophycis regius-Spotted hake
Brotula barbata-Bearded brotula
Ophidion holbrooki-Bank cuskeel
Rissola marginata- Striped cuskeel
Strongylura marina-Atlantic needlefish
Strongylura notata-Redfin needlefish
Cyprinodon variegatus-Sheepshead minnow
Fundulus similis-Longnose killifish
Poecilia latipinna-Sailfin molly
Membras martinica-Rough silverside
Menidia beryllina-Tidewater silverside
Holocentrus rufus-Longspine squirrelfish
Holocentrus vexillarius-Dusky squirrelfish
Hippocampus erectus-Lined seahorse
Syngnathus floridae-Dusky pipefish
Syngnathus louisianae-Chgin pipefish
Syngnathus scovelli-Gulf pipefish
Syngnathus springeri-Bull pipefish
8 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM Vol. 24, No. 1
TABLE 1 CONTINUED.
Species East Pass St. Andrew
Centropomus undecimalis-Snook (+)
Centropristis melana-Southern seabass + +
Centropristis ocyurus-Bank seabass + +
Centropristis philadelphica-Rock seabass + +
Diplectrum bivittatum-Dwarf sand perch + *
Diplectrum formosum-Sand perch + +
Epinephelus itajara-Jewfish + (+)
Epinephelus morio-Red grouper + +
Mycteroperca microlepis-Gag + +
Mycteroperca phenax-Scamp + +
Serraniculus pumilio-Pygmy seabass + +
Serranus subligarius-Belted sandfish + +
Rypticus maculatus-Whitespotted soapfish + +
Apogon maculatus-Flamefish +
Apogon pseudomaculatus-Twospot cardinal fish +
Astrapogon alutus-Bronze cardinal fish (+)
Phaeoptyx pigmentaria-Dusky cardinal fish + (+)
Phaeoptyx xenus-Sponge cardinal fish +
Pomatomus saltatrix-Bluefish + +
Rachycentron canadum-Cobia + (+)
Echeneis neucratoides-Whitefin sharksucker + +
Caranx bartholomaei-Yellow jack + +
Caranx crysos-Blue runner + +
Caranx hippos-Crevalle jack + +
Caranx latus-Horse-eye jack (+)
Caranx ruber-Bar jack + +
Chloroscombrus chrysurus-Atlantic bumper + +
Decapterus punctatus-Round scad + +
Oligoplites saurus-Leatherjacket + +
Selene vomer-Lookdown + *
Seriola dumerili- Greater amberjack +
Seriola zonata-Banded rudderfish + +
Trachinotus carolinus-Florida pompano + +
Trachinotus goodei-Palometa + +
Trachurus lathami-Rough scad +
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 9
TABLE 1 CONTINUED.
Species East Pass St. Andrew
Lutjanus analis-Mutton snapper (+)
Lutjanus apodus- Schoolmaster (+)
Lutjanus campechanus-Red snapper + *
Lutjanus griseus-Gray snapper + +
Lutjanus synagris-Lane snapper + +
Ocyurus chrysurus-Yellowtail snapper + -
Lobotes surinamensis-Tripletail +
Eucinostomus argenteus-Spotfin mojarra (?) +
Eucinostomus gula-Silver jenny (?) +
Haemulon aurolineatum-Tomtate + +
Haemulon plumieri-White grunt + +
Orthopristis chrysoptera-Pigfish + +
Archosargus probatocephalus-Sheepshead + +
Diplodus holbrooki-Spottail pinfish + +
Lagodon rhomboides-Pinfish + +
Stenotomus caprinus-Longspine porgy (+)
Unidentified sparids (Calamus or Pagrus) +
Bairdiella chrysura-Silver perch + +
Cynoscion arenarius-Sand seatrout +
Cynoscion nebulosus-Spotted seatrout + +
Equetus lanceolatus-Jackknife fish +
Equetus umbrosus-Cubbyu + +
Leiostomus xanthurus-Spot + +
Menticirrhus focaliger-Minkfish + +
Micropogon undulatus-Atlantic croaker + +
Pogonias cromis-Black drum +
Sciaenops ocellata-Red drum + +
Mulloidichthys martinicus-Yellow goatfish + -
Kyphosus incisor-Yellow chub +
Kyphosus sectatrix- Bermuda chub + +
Chaetodipterus faber-Atlantic spadefish + +
Chaetodon capistratus-Foureye butterflyfish + +
Chaetodon ocellatus-Spotfin butterflyfish + +
Chaetodon sedentarius-Reef butterflyfish +
Chaetodon striatus-Banded butterflyfish + +
10 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM Vol. 24, No. 1
TABLE 1 CONTINUED.
Species East Pass St. Andrew
Holacanthus bermudensis-Blue angelfish + +
Abudefduf saxatilis- Sergeant major + +
Abudefduf taurus-Night sergeant (+)
Pomacentrus fuscus-Dusky damselfish +
Pomacentrus partitus-Bicolor damselfish + +
Pomacentrus variabilis-Cocoa damselfish + +
Doratonotus megalepis-Dwarf wrasse + +
Halichoeres bivittatus-Slippery dick + +
Halichoeres caudalis-Painted wrasse +
Halichoeres radiatus-Puddingwife (+) +
Hemipteronotus novacula-Pearly razorfish + +
Lachnolaimus maximus-Hogfish +
Thalassoma bifasciatum-Bluehead + +
Nicholsina usta-Emerald parrotfish + +
Scarus coelestinus- Midnight parrotfish +
Scarus croicensis-Striped parrotfish + +
Sparisoma aurofrenatum-Redband parrotfish +
Sparisoma chrysopterum-Redtail parrotfish + +
Sparisoma radians-Bucktooth parrotfish + +
Sparisoma rubripinne-Redfin parrotfish + +
Sparisoma viride-Stoplight parrotfish +
Mugil cephalus- Striped mullet + +
Mugil curema-White mullet + +
Sphyraena barracuda-Great barracuda + +
Sphyraena borealis-Northern sennet + +
Polydactylus octonemus-Atlantic threadfin (+)
Dactyloscopus tridigitatus-Sand stargazer + +
Astroscopus y-graecum-Southern stargazer + (+)
Blennius marmoreus-Seaweed blenny + +
Hypleurochilus bermudensis-Barred blenny +
Hypleurochilus geminatus-Crested blenny + +
Hypsoblennius hentzi-Feather blenny + +
Erotelis smaragdus-Emerald sleeper +4-
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 11
TABLE 1 CONTINUED.
Species East Pass St. Andrew
Bathygobius soporator-Frillfin goby + -
Coryphopterus punctipectophorus- Spotted goby +
Gobionellus boleosoma- Darter goby + +
Gobiosoma longipala-Twoscale goby + +
Gobiosoma robustum-Code goby + (+)
Acanthurus chirurgus-Doctorfish + +
Acanthurus coeruleus-Blue tang + +
Acanthurus randalli-Gulf surgeonfish + +
Euthynnus alletteratus-Little tunny + +
Scomberomorus cavalla-King mackerel +
Scomberomorus maculatus- Spanish mackerel + +
Peprilus burti-Gulf butterfish + +
Scorpaena brasiliensis-Barbfish + +
Scorpaena calcarata-Smoothhead scorpionfish +
Scorpaena plumieri- Spotted scorpionfish +
Prionotus martis-Barred searobin + *
Prionotus scitulus-Leopard searobin + +
Prionotus tribulus-Bighead searobin + +
Dactylopterus volitans-Flying gurnard + -
Ancylopsetta quadrocellata-Ocellated flounder + *
Citharichthys macrops-Spotted whiff +
Citharichthys spilopterus-Bay whiff + *
Etropus microstomus-Smallmouth flounder + +
Paralichthys albigutta-Gulf flounder + +
Paralichthys lethostigma- Southern flounder + (+)
Syacium papillosum-Dusky flounder +
Achirus lineatus- Lined sole +
Trinectes maculatus- Hogchoker +
Symphurus plagiusa-Blackcheek tonguefish + +
Aluterus schoepfi-Orange filefish + +
Balistes capriscus-Gray triggerfish + +
Balistes vetula-Queen triggerfish +
Cantherhines pullus-Orangespotted filefish + +
Monacanthus cilia tus- Fringed filefish +
Monacanthus hispidus-Planehead filefish + +
12 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
TABLE 1 CONTINUED.
Species East Pass St. Andrew
Lactophrys quadricornis- Scrawled cowfish + +
Sphoerides nephelus-Southern puffer + +
Sphoeroides spengleri-Bandtail puffer +
Chilomycterus schoepfi- Striped burrfish + +
+ = present (parenthesis indicates literature record or record prior to this study)
= not recorded
= recorded in area but not on the jetties
? = members of family not identified to species
To supplement these subjective records, three plots were marked off on the west jet-
ty during 1970, and on each observation, when diving conditions permitted, individuals
of each species within each plot were counted (Fig. 2). Each plot measured 9.0 m along
the jetty, with the width determined by the area of rock substrate extending out from
the exposed part of the jetty.
Plot I, on the channel side, extended out from the jetty about 6.0 m and was
characterized by a plateau at the edge of the exposed portion of the jetty about 30 cm
deep and about 1.2 m wide. From the edge of the plateau the jetty sloped down to a
water depth of ca 3.0 m about 6.0 m from the exposed portion. Plots II and III were on
the gulf side of the west jetty. Plot II near the south end of the jetty extended out from
the jetty about 3.0 m and the water depth ranged from 0.6 m at the inside to approx-
imately 2.4 m on the outer side. Plot III, near the north end, was about 3.0 m wide, and
the water depth from 0.6 to 1.5 m.
The counts were unavoidably biased toward larger, non-cryptic fishes. Small, in-
conspicuous fishes and those that remained hidden beneath rocks could not be counted.
In addition, species occurring in dense schools could only be estimated as to numbers of
individuals present. Occasionally larvae of some species occurred in the plots, but
counts were impossible. Consequently, larval fishes were not included in plot counts.
Despite these inaccuracies, the counts were useful in analyzing the seasonal changes in
composition of fish populations on the jetties (Tables 2-5).
Dives were made periodically on other reef habitats in the area for comparative in-
formation. Dives on the St. Andrew jetties complemented Allison's earlier ichthyo-
logical study (1961) and the results of several collectors from Florida State University
working in the area from 1958 to 1972. Specimens collected by Allison or others and
catalogued in the Florida State University fish collection were reexamined to confirm or
correct identifications. As the St. Andrew jetties are larger and older than those at
Destin, it was assumed that their fauna was more mature and stable. Comparisons were
helpful in analyzing the changes occurring on the Destin jetties.
Several dives were also made on the offshore natural reefs south of Destin and
Panama City and at the Navy platforms off Panama City Beach (Hastings et aL 1976).
Data from these populations were obtained to clarify seasonal occurrence of fishes in in-
shore waters, as well as possible sources of recruitment for inshore populations of cer-
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 13
GULF OF MEXICO
0 100 M
FIGURE 2.-East Pass jetties at mouth of Choctawhatchee Bay showing the location of
three plots on the west jetty. Depths (in meters) were recorded in May, 1971.
TABLE 2. COUNTS OF FISHES AT EAST PASS JETTIES DURING 1970: PLOT I, CHANNEL SIDE OF WEST JETTY (BOTTOM AREA = 64.8 M2).
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jar Average
Species 2 24 13 27 31 3 17 16 29 8 23 9 23 6 24 5 14 1 10 22 9 10 19 21 1 17 26 12 Density**
Lagodon rhomboides (adult)
Leiostomus xanthurus (adult)
3 1 2 3 2 5 17 11 10 29 14 2 2 2 5 2 17 8
1 1 1 2 1 1 0.005
18 36 46 52 68 71 211270356241177208161243184274158 11 1 1 1.536
2 1 4 1 0.004
6 26 13 28 26 11 4 1 3 23 28 20 15 112 93 0.225
2 1 5 22 3 2 3 1 3 6 0.026
3 2 7 4 1 3 1 1 1 1 2 0.014
14 4 2 2 2 3 3 0.016
5 16 5 1 1 4 4 26 1 1 0.035
1 3 1 1 2 1 0.005
1 4 1 0.003
Table 2. Counts of Fishes at East Pass Jetties during 1970: Plot I, Channel Side of West Jetty (Bottom Area = 64.8 M2) CONTINUED.
Jan Feb Mai Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan
Species 2 24 13 127 31 3 17 16 29 8 23 9 23 6 24 5 14 1 10 22 9 10 19 21 1 17 26 12
*Value less than 0.001
1 1 0.001
1 1 1 0.002
9 13 3 3 1 3 2 3 3 7 3 3 0.029
2 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 3 0.009
2 1 3 1 1 0.005
1 1 2 1 0.003
1 1 1 1 1 0.003
1 3 5 6 4 7 6 0.018
1 1 0.001
30 2 30 9 0.039
30 1 0.017
1 2 3 1 2 0.005
5 2 2 2 0.006
**Density equals average number counted per observation divided by bottom area of plot.
TABLE 3. COUNTS OF FISHES AT EAST PASS JETTIES DURING 1970: PLOT II, GULF SIDE OF WEST JETTY (BOTTOM AREA = 31.5 M2).
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Average
Species 2 1 24 13 27 | 17 16 8 9 6 241 5 14 1 10 22 21 1 26 12 Density**
**See footnote to Table 2.
16 16 34 11 19 30 12 10 9 5 0.280
10 9 29 1 0.082
10 1 1 0.020
6 10 14 57 63 44 74 58 105 83 54 17 1 0.978
9 52 25 39 64 32 70 50 40 56 0.730
1 9 34 23 1 9 2 4 6 0.148
1 6 30 0.062
2 2 1 1 0.010
2 2 2 2 0.013
7 2 1 4 4 3 0.035
2 4 2 4 4 6 6 1 1 0.050
3 3 9 6 11 4 0.060
6 7 0.022
1 3 1 1 0.010
50 1 25 0.127
1 1 0.003
1 4 0.008
TABLE 4. COUNTS OF FISHES AT EAST PASS JETTIES DURING 1970: PLOT III, GULF SIDE OF WEST JETTY (BOTTOM AREA = 28.2 M2).
**See footnote to Table 2.
Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
2 24 13 27 17 16 8 9
1 1 25 7
2 19 79 128
16 10 3 42
1 2 16
5 14 1 10 22 21
24 23 20 70 18
2 2 _
3 12 6 8 4 2
3 2 0.009
2 50 0.097
TABLE 5. SUMMARY OF PLOT COUNTS AND TEMPERATURE RECORDS AT EAST PASS JETTIES DURING 1970.
2 0 4 1 3 2 6 6 7 6 10 8 11 11 7 15 17 13 14 7 16 10 4 2 8 3 3 1
0 0 0 0 2 5 5 4 9 12 7 11 15 13 13 3 3 2 0
0 0 00 1 5 4 5 9 7 8 11 10 9 8 1 3 1 0
7 0 8 2 6 19 43 61 101 107 127 270 340 406 262 255 276 242 302 235 434 279 7 4 30 6 3 1
0 0 0 0 22 36 81 54 186 237 102 213 222 188 211 60 24 2 0
0 0 0 0 1 50 56 92 337 189 152 250 126 196 173 21 47 1 0
14 9 14 14 18 20 24 28 28 27 28 28 31 29 30 29 28 25 22 22 18 16 16 14 14 13
21 28 19
14 10 14 15 21 28 28 29 31 29 30 29 27 27 23 17 16 14 14
14 10 14 14 23 28 28 29 31 28 30 29 26 27 22 17 17 14 14
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 19
DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA
Detailed description of the coastal environment in the vicinity of
the East Pass and St. Andrew jetties is given in Hastings (1972). The
coast of northwest Florida, extending from the Alabama-Florida line
on the west to Cape San Bias on the east (260 km), is a biologically
monotonous stretch of pure white quartz-sand beach. It is a moderate
energy coast (Tanner 1960) with diurnal tides of low range (mean= 36.6
cm; U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1971). Salinity is generally high
(over 300/oo), except at the mouths of estuaries during ebb tides.
Water clarity (transparency) is usually very good with underwater
visibility as much as 9 m. Ebb tides, strong surge, and occasional
plankton blooms decrease clarity locally for short periods, but even
then visibility is usually from 1.0 to 3.0 m. Water temperatures record-
ed 3.2 km offshore from the St. Andrew jetties are shown in Figure 3.
Similar records were obtained at East Pass (Fig. 4), where the record
low January water temperature was 90C and the high August record
was 320C. Gulf waters are usually several degrees warmer than the in-
shore waters during the winter, and several degrees cooler during the
Limited studies of currents in the coastal regions of northwest
Florida indicate considerable seasonal variation in the direction of sur-
face currents (Gaul and Boykin 1964; Talbert and Salsman 1964; Pe-
quegnat and Pequegnat 1968). Gaul (1967) stated that the net surface
circulation across the shelf between Pensacola and Panama City must
sweep southeastward. Wind is apparently the controlling agent for
surface currents in the area and thus could also be the factor most im-
portant in the dispersal of pelagic larval forms of reef dependent fishes
and other organisms into the area. The seasonal occurrence of such
organisms inshore at locations such as the jetties may depend upon on-
shore currents, which predominate during late spring and summer
(Talbert and Salsman 1964).
The most distinctive feature of circulation in the Gulf of Mexico is
the Eastern Gulf Loop Current entering through the Yucatan Channel,
intruding variable distances into the gulf, and then exiting through
the Florida Straits (Leipper 1954, 1970; Austin 1955; Gaul 1966, 1967;
Hubertz 1967; Vick 1967; Nowlin et al. 1968; Nowlin 1971; Rinkel
1971). The current begins its greatest intrusion into the northern gulf
in the spring and reaches the continental margin between the
Mississippi delta and Cape San Blas by August (Leipper 1970). Occa-
sionally eddy currents (rotating either clockwise or counter-clockwise)
develop over the continental slope off northwest Florida (Gaul 1967),
but the influence of the loop current on continental shelf waters is not
20 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
J F M A M
J J A S 0 N D
FIGURE 3.-Temperature records from Stage II Platform off Panama City, Florida. A.
Annual sea surface temperature curve; six year monthly mean (1955-1961). B. Typical
seasonal bathythermograph records (from data taken by Naval Coastal Systems
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 21
30 -43 *
u 20- *
30 o* *S * *o
J F M A M J J A S 0 N D
FIGURE 4.-Temperatures recorded at East Pass jetties during 1968, 1969, and 1970.
22 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
There are five major estuaries along the northwest Florida coast:
Perdido Bay at the western edge, Pensacola Bay, Choctawhatchee
Bay, St. Andrew Bay, and St. Joseph Bay. Rock jetties providing ar-
tificial reef habitat have been constructed at the mouths of all except
St. Joseph Bay. Other structures of human origin, such as bridges,
piers, or shipwrecks providing hard surfaces underwater, have con-
tributed to an increase in the number and variety of benthic organisms
and possibly also in the number of demersal fish species. Many pelagic
fishes are attracted to these irregularities and large schools may be
concentrated around them. In a few places artificial reefs have been
constructed to attract fishes ("Fish Haven" in Fig. 5).
The East Pass jetties (Figs. 1 & 2) at the mouth of Choctawhatchee
Bay were constructed between October, 1967, and the latter part of
1968 (See U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1964, 1967). The west jetty
includes two sections separated by a weir 305 m long submerged 15 cm
below the water surface. The shoreward section of the jetty was mostly
shoaled over by drifting sand. The seaward portion, about 530 m long,
was the site of the greater part of the field observations during this
study. Depths ranged from about 1 to 3 m but at the seaward end,
depths reached about 6 m. Early in the study, deeper holes (up to
about 6 m) were present along the jetty, especially near the shoreward
end, but these were eliminated by drifting sand or dredge spoil.
The east jetty consists of a single section originally 305 m long, but
reduced to about 150 m by dredge spoil and drifting sand. On the chan-
nel side the bottom sloped from the shoreward end down to about 11 m
depth at the seaward end. Depths on the gulf side were shallower with
a more gradual slope to about 3 m and then a sharp drop at the
The jetties were constructed of quarry stone obtained from Three
Rivers Quarry, Smithland, Kentucky. The extreme range in size
(2.3-13600 kg) and irregular shape of stones created large numbers of
cavities that provided hiding places for various marine organisms. The
amount of rock substrate available to marine organisms varied along
the jetty with water depth, slope of the jetty, and amount of sand
covering the submerged portion of the jetty.
The gulf and channel sides presented contrasting environments.
The gulf was characterized by more stable conditions, with greater
water clarity and salinity, but with the continued breaking of surge.
The channel side afforded protection from surge but presented other
problems such as strong tidal currents and major salinity changes
within short periods of time.
The jetties were soon colonized by a variety of benthic algae and in-
vertebrates (described in Hastings 1972), which provided food and
habitat for some of the fishes attracted to the jetties.
Vol. 24, No. 1
FIGURE 5.-Coastal area of Gulf of Mexico at East Pass, Choctawhatchee Bay, Florida, showing approxi-
mate locations of artificial reefs (Fish Havens) and natural rocky reefs (circles) at depths of about 18-35 m.
24 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Although the sand substrate surrounding the jetties supports few
benthic organisms, a few other sites near East Pass provide hard
substrate for reef species. Extensive rock piles have been in place for a
number of years at the bases of pilings supporting the U.S. Highway
98 bridge across East Pass. These have yielded several species of reef
fishes (Caldwell and Briggs 1957; Caldwell 1959, 1963). A few natural
rock outcrops occur in the gulf within about 3 km of the jetties, and ar-
tificial reef materials (primarily old automobile bodies) have been
placed about 2-3 km southeast of East Pass ("Fish Haven" in Fig. 5).
Most of the natural reefs are more than 6.4 km offshore. Several ar-
tificial fishing reefs have been constructed with Choctawhatchee Bay,
but these were not examined during the present study.
The jetties at the west pass of St. Andrew Bay (Fig. 6) are similar in
construction to those at Choctawhatchee Bay, but are older and in
deeper water (up to 9 m). They were first constructed in 1934 (U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers 1948). Bulkheads extending out to the edge
of the channel were added in 1935, but after their almost complete
destruction within six months, they were partially removed. Remains
of these bulkheads are submerged in the west pass channel and are
shown by dotted lines in Figure 6.
Small lagoons (averaging about 1.5 m deep) have formed on the
landward sides of the two jetties and represent a habitat not found at
the East Pass jetties. Here there was almost no surge and extensive
grass beds were present near the jetties. Algal and invertebrate
populations were more diverse at the St. Andrew jetties than at the
East Pass jetties (see Hastings 1972), apparently correlated with the
greater age of the habitat and possibly also the greater depths.
Although natural reef areas are absent inshore in the northern Gulf
of Mexico, they are widespread offshore and have been shown to sup-
port a variety of typical reef organisms (Mettison 1948; Lynch 1954;
Smith, F.G.W. 1954; Parker and Curray 1956; Hoese 1958; Hildebrand
et al. 1964; Causey 1969; Tunnell and Chaney 1970; Cashman 1973;
Bright and Cashman 1974; Smith, G. B. et al. 1975; Smith, G. B. 1976;
Sonnier et al. 1976).
Reefs in the eastern gulf consist of portions of the basal limestone
composing the continental shelf off the Florida coast. Where outcrops
occur through the overlying sediments, rocky reefs are formed that
support scattered growths of hard corals as well as extensive growths
of sponges and alcyonarians (Smith 1954; Tierney 1954). The major
reefs of this region occur in two zones, one at depths from about 60 to
100 m and another at about 160 m (Gould and Stewart 1955; Ludwick
1964; Ballard and Uchupi 1970). However, scattered patch reefs occur
inshore on the 40 m isobath with the Florida Middle Ground being the
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 25
GULF OF MEXICO
0 100 M
FIGURE 6.-St. Andrew State Park jetties at mouth of St. Andrew Bay, Bay County,
Florida. Depths (in meters) were recorded in May, 1971.
26 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
most notable example (Jordan 1952; Smith et al. 1975; Smith 1976).
Such patch reefs occur in an almost continuous series from the Florida
Keys to the area off northwest Florida. Reefs occur in water as shallow
as 5 m off the coast of peninsular Florida (Dawson and Smith 1953;
Phillips and Springer 1960; Springer and Woodburn 1960; Moe 1963;
Moe and Martin 1965), approximately 0.8 km offshore in the region off
Tampa Bay. In contrast, reefs off the northwest Florida coast are
deeper than 18 m but, because of the narrowness and steepness of the
shelf in this region, are still within 4.0 km of the coast.
Off East Pass of Choctawhatchee Bay (Fig. 5), two general zones of
reefs occur: one 3.7-9.3 km offshore consists of depressions and eleva-
tions at a general water depth of 18-24 m; the second approximately
13.0-18.5 km offshore is about 27-30 m deep. Most of the reefs extend
only about 0.6-1.5 m above the bottom. Some are cut by deep crevices
and on some the margins are hollowed out to form overhanging ledges.
The limestone composing the reefs is of algal or coralline origin, but
hermatypic, reef-building corals are not common at the present time.
Low winter temperatures probably prevent extensive coral growth.
Sponges are the most abundant encrusting organisms, although al-
cyonarians, bryozoans, and ascidians are also common. Small colonies
of hard corals are present but are never large. The invertebrate fauna
on the reefs is diverse and no attempt has been made to identify the
The fish faunas of these offshore reefs are rather poorly known. The
extensive lists of fishes recorded from the stomachs of snappers and
groupers taken off Pensacola (Goode and Bean 1883; Jordan and
Gilbert 1883, 1884; Jordan 1885, 1887; Jordan and Swain 1885; Jordan
and Evermann 1887), and the numerous collections by the R/V Oregon
and Silver Bay in the northern gulf (Springer and Bullis 1956; Bullis
and Thompson 1965) indicate the variety of species present on these
deepwater reefs. Walls (1975) listed many species for these offshore
reefs, but the subjective nature of these records and lack of documen-
tation limit the usefulness of this publication. Springer and Woodburn
(1960), Moe and Martin (1965), and Smith (1976) have published lists
of fishes occurring on the reefs off Tampa Bay. Studies on the fishes of
the Florida Middle Ground reef also indicate a high level of diversity
(Smith et al. 1975; Smith 1976).
During the present study, several reefs south of East Pass were ex-
amined, and several dives were made on "Warsaw Hole," a rock out-
crop 26 m deep about 13 km southwest of St. Andrew Bay. The fauna
on all of these reefs was similar and included many reef fishes that oc-
curred in relatively large numbers throughout the year.
Another habitat examined during this study was the research plat-
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 27
forms, maintained by the U.S. Naval Coastal Systems Laboratory of
Panama City, are 17.7 km offshore in 30 m of water (Stage I) and 3.2
km offshore in 18 m of water (Stage II). The pilings of these platforms
support extensive growths of encrusting organisms, and numerous
species of fishes congregate under the platforms as well as near scat-
tered debris on the bottom.
A total of 204 species of fishes have been recorded at the East Pass
and St. Andrew jetties, 190 during this study plus 14 others prior to
the study (Table 1). Of these, 112 are described in the following species
accounts either as dominant or significant members of the jetty fauna
or because of zoogeographical significance (such as tropical or sub-
tropical species characteristic of reef areas). The species not discussed
were present rarely and in small numbers and thus are not considered
significant members of the jetty fauna, even though some may have
been common in nonreef habitats nearby. Descriptive accounts of such
species are given in Hastings (1972). Occurrence charts illustrating the
monthly presence of important species at the East Pass jetties appear
in the Appendix (Charts 1-78). Unless otherwise noted, arrangement of
families and nomenclature of fishes follows Bailey et al. (1970).
REQUIEM SHARKS (CHART 1).-Small numbers of unidentified
sharks were observed at the East Pass jetties during the months of
August, September, and October. None was observed at the St. An-
drew jetties during this study.
Dasyatis sabina (Lesueur), ATLANTIC STINGRAY (CHART 2).-This
ray was observed over the sandy areas adjacent to the East Pass jet-
ties during all seasons of the year but at irregular intervals. Usually
only small numbers were observed, but it was considered common dur-
ing January, March, and April, 1969. In contrast, it was not recorded
during January, February, and March, 1970. It was recorded from
April to October at the St. Andrews jetties, but is reported to be pres-
ent in the bay from March through December (Vick 1964).
Dasyatis sayi (Lesueur), BLUNTNOSE STINGRAY (CHART 3).-This
ray was observed at East Pass from April through November, usually
in small numbers, but possibly it was more numerous in the spring and
autumn. None was seen at the St. Andrew jetties, but it has been
recorded within St. Andrew Bay (Allison 1961; Larry H. Ogren, pers.
28 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Elops saurus Linnaeus, LADYFISH (CHART 4).-Except for a single
individual observed in May, ladyfish were recorded at the East Pass
jetties only in September and October when schools of adults were
present. The species was recorded at the St. Andrew jetties only dur-
Gymnothorax nigromarginatus (Girard) AND G. saxicola (Jordan
and Davis), BLACKEDGE MORAYS.-Recent study by Dr. James E.
Bohlke (pers. comm.) has supported the earlier conclusion of some (Jor-
dan and Davis 1892; Jordan and Evermann 1896; Ginsburg 1951) that
these two species are distinct. They are considered together here
because they were not distinguished in the field.
One juvenile G. nigromarginatus was collected at the East Pass jet-
ties on 11 September 1969. Both species have been collected at the St.
Andrew jetties and both are apparently common offshore in the north-
eastern gulf. One G. nigromarginatus was collected at the St. Andrew
jetties by Allison in August, 1958, while 17 G. saxicola, including
juveniles and adults, have been collected there during April, May,
August, and October in recent years.
These morays are apparently most numerous on the offshore
natural reefs and occur inshore seasonally as strays from the deeper
water populations. They were observed offshore at Panama City and
Destin in January, February, August, and September.
Myrophis punctatus Lutken, SPECKLED WORM EEL (CHART 5).-
This species was the most numerous eel on the East Pass jetties, but it
was usually only recorded during rotenone operations. Thus, it was
present, at least in limited numbers, throughout the year. However,
rotenone operations in January and October, 1970, failed to yield this
species. Those recorded in February, 1970, were transitional lep-
tocephalus larvae (Eldred 1966). One leptocephalus, which was prob-
ably this species, was found in the stomach of a bluefish, Pomatomus
saltatrix, collected in December, 1970.
Myrophis punctatus has also been collected in limited numbers at
the St. Andrew jetties from May to October, and two leptocephali were
collected in January, 1971, in the pass between the two jetties. Jordan
(1885) also recorded this species from the stomachs of red snappers
taken off Pensacola.
Harengula pensacolae Goode and Bean, SCALED SARDINE (CHARTS
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 29
6-7).-The scaled sardine Harengula jaguana Poey [see Whitehead
1973] is the most abundant clupeid in the gulf near East Pass, and
large schools often congregated near the jetties. It was present in
relatively large numbers from about April or May to October or
November during each year of the study and was common only at
temperatures above about 24-270C. Larvae and prejuveniles of
Harengula pensacolae were collected in September and October, 1969,
and in July and August, 1970 (Chart 7). Similar observations were
recorded for the St. Andrew jetties, where schools of adults were com-
mon from April to October at temperatures from 24 to 310C.
The seasonal movements of the scaled sardine are not completely
understood, but it has been suggested that the species either moves
southward along the coast or offshore during the winter.
Sardinella anchovia Valenciennes, SPANISH SARDINE (CHART 8).-
The Spanish sardine was quite numerous at times from about May to
September near the East Pass jetties, a pattern quite similar to that of
Harengula pensacolae. However, it apparently moves out of the area
earlier in the fall than does H. pensacolae, in September when
temperatures have just begun to drop but are still quite high. The
species was recorded at the St. Andrew jetties from May to October.
Movements of this sardine may be controlled by factors other than
temperature. Larvae and prejuveniles identified as this species were
collected in November, January, and February, indicating a fall and
winter spawning period, so possibly this species moves into more open
waters to spawn beginning in September.
Apparently the schools of Sardinella remain in the northern gulf
throughout the year but move offshore to deeper water during the
winter. Large numbers have been observed under the Stage I and II
platforms off St. Andrew Bay in December (Hastings et al. 1976), and
near "Warsaw Hole" in January. Turner (1969) and Bullis and Thomp-
son (1965) reported collections off north Florida from December
Synodus foetens (Linnaeus), INSHORE LIZARDFISH (CHART 9).-
Lizardfish were not common at the East Pass jetties, but single in-
dividuals or small numbers were occasionally seen over the sand near
the jetties from June to October. The species was recorded at the St.
Andrew jetties from May to December, but Allison (1961) also record-
ed it from other parts of the bay in February and April.
Arius felis (Linnaeus), SEA CATFISH (CHART 10).-Sea catfish are
abundant at East Pass and were often seen near the jetties, but only
30 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM Vol. 24, No. 1
from June through August in 1968 and from May through October in
1969 and 1970. Similar seasonal records were obtained at St. Andrew
Bay, where the species was recorded in the vicinity of the jetties
throughout the summer and fall (through October). The species moves
out into the gulf for the winter (Gunter 1945-Texas coast) but re-
mains inshore throughout the winter in some parts of the northern gulf
(Gunter, 1938-Louisiana coast). One specimen was taken from the
stomach of a gag, Mycteroperca microlepis, collected in February,
1971, at Warsaw Hole off St. Andrew Bay.
On 11 September 1969, and on 1 October 1970, at temperatures of
26-280C, several tightly packed schools of about 20-50 adult sea cat-
fish were seen swimming at the surface in the channel between the two
jetties at East Pass. The schools moved deeper when approached by a
boat but soon reappeared at the surface. Not all Arius in the area were
involved in the schooling behavior since several individuals were also
seen near the jetties on both occasions. The significance of such
behavior is unknown.
Opsanus beta (Goode and Bean), GULF TOADFISH (CHART 11). -The
Gulf toadfish was undoubtedly not common over the open sandy bot-
toms of East Pass prior to construction of the jetties, and only one
small juvenile (12.5 mm SL) was observed in 1968 (in September)
(Chart 11). Small numbers of juveniles and adults were observed in
June, July, and September, 1969 (including one of 14.2 mm SL col-
lected in July). This species was present in 1970 from January through
October. Only solitary individuals were observed in January,
February, March, May, and October, but several were seen in June,
July, August, and September.
Opsanus beta is common in the lagoons formed by the St. Andrew
jetties, where large adults were recorded from May through October.
The species was probably also present during winter but remained hid-
den within burrows under jetty rocks. Vick (1964) stated that it was
present in St. Andrew Bay throughout the year.
Gobiesox strumosus Cope, SKILLETFISH (CHART 12).-The skillet-
fish may be present throughout the year at East Pass but is most
numerous in summer and fall. Its secretive habits and cryptic colora-
tion make it inconspicuous even when it may be common. The records
shown in Chart 12 are mostly rotenone collections, but rotenone opera-
tions on 1 March 1969 and 24 January 1970 failed to yield this species.
Of 35 specimens collected at East Pass during this study, 27 were col-
lected on 11 September 1969.
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 31
The species is less common on the St. Andrew jetties than it has
been at East Pass. In numerous rotenone collections during the pres-
ent study, only two individuals were collected: one in July, 1968, and
one in October, 1969. Allison (1961) collected two in October, 1958, one
in May, 1959, and one in August, 1959.
Antennarius ocellatus (Bloch and Schneider), OCELLATED FROGFISH
(CHART 13).-Small numbers of juvenile ocellated frogfish (20.0-102.6
mm SL) were observed at the East Pass jetties between May and
November during 1968 and 1969. The species was recorded with about
equal frequency on the St. Andrew jetties from May to October. Ap-
parently, adult frogfish are residents of reef areas in deeper, offshore
waters (Jordan and Evermann 1898; Springer and Bullis 1956; Bullis
and Thompson 1965; Springer and Woodburn 1960).
Urophycis floridanus (Bean and Dresel), SOUTHERN HAKE (CHART
14).-The southern hake was observed at East Pass from January
through early May in 1969, and in January, February, April, and
December, 1970. On most dates only a few were seen, but on 1 March
1969, 584 specimens (35.9-183 mm SL) were collected when a deep area
adjacent to the jetty was treated with rotenone. None was seen in the
area prior to dispersal of the poison, so the species could have been
numerous on other dates during the winter.
The species was not recorded at the St. Andrew jetties during this
study, but rotenone operations were not conducted there during the
winter. Ralph W. Yerger recorded the species there in April, 1958, and
Camm C. Swift collected one juvenile (about 15 mm TL) in December,
1966. Four specimens collected at East Pass on 17 December 1970
were juveniles (22.8-23.4 mm SL) observed swimming at the surface.
Such young are pelagic but become demersal at about 35 mm SL
(Hildebrand and Cable 1938).
Urophycis regius (Walbaum), SPOTTED HAKE.-Nine specimens
(51.8-78.7 mm SL) were collected at the East Pass jetties on 1 March
1969 with 584 U. floridanus. The species was not recorded at the St.
Andrew jetties, although Allison (1961) collected three juveniles in St.
Andrew Bay in April, 1959, but misidentified them as U. floridanus.
Menidia beryllina (Cope), TIDEWATER SILVERSIDE (CHART 15).- Ac-
cording to Johnson (1975) this silverside should be identified as M.
peninsula. Menidia beryllina was usually abundant at East Pass,
especially during the warmer months, but occurred somewhat ir-
32 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
regularly near the jetties. Occurrence records shown in Chart 15 are
only for the immediate vicinity of the jetties. Most schools of Menidia
were seen in the shallow, sandy areas at the shoreward ends of the jet-
ties. Records at the St. Andrew jetties were similar.
Holocentrus ascensionis (Osbeck), SQUIRRELFISH.-The squirrelfish
was recorded twice at the East Pass jetties; an adult in September,
1968, and a juvenile in July, 1969. Single adults were seen at the St.
Andrew jetties in August, 1967, and in October, 1971. Allison (1961)
collected small numbers in August and October, 1958, and July, 1959.
Holocentrus rufus (Walbaum), LONGSPINE SQUIRRELFISH.-A
juvenile Holocentrus rufus was collected by Ralph W. Yerger at the St.
Andrew jetties on 24 October 1972. This is apparently the only record
of the species along the northwest Florida coast. It has been reported
from off the coast of Texas (Briggs et al. 1964; Cashman 1973), but is
probably a straggler in the northern gulf.
Holocentrus vexillarius (Poey), DUSKY SQUIRRELFISH.-One
juvenile dusky squirrelfish (48.3 mm SL-FSU 15691) was collected by
Lewis Tesor of Panama City on 16 August 1967, at the St. Andrew jet-
McKenney (1959) listed two records for the Gulf of Mexico north of
the Florida Keys. These are pelagic larvae taken by dip net at the sur-
face of R/V Oregon stations 1193 (26000'N, 88025'W) and 820
(2842'N, 88048'W). This species is common in the southern gulf and
the West Indies (McKenney 1959; Hildebrand et al. 1964; Bohlke and
Chaplin 1968). In view of the absence of records of adults from the
northern gulf, it seems that permanent populations do not occur there,
and the pelagic larvae were probably spawned in the Caribbean and
carried northward by the Loop Current.
Syngnathus scovelli (Evermann and Kendall), GULF PIPEFISH
(CHART 16).- No gulf pipefish were recorded at the East Pass jetties
during 1968, and only one juvenile was observed in 1969, in June. Dur-
ing 1970, the species was recorded more often, although only small
numbers were present in April, June, July, and December. It was rare
on the St. Andrew jetties, where only single adults were collected in
April, 1958 (by R. W. Yerger), and in August, 1967.
Syngnathus springeri Herald, BULL PIPEFISH (CHART 17).-This
species does not generally occur in shallow waters (Herald 1965), but
was the pipefish most often recorded at the East Pass jetties. None
was recorded in 1968, and only small numbers of immature individuals
(91-169 mm SL) were seen during 1969 and 1970. These appeared
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 33
rather irregularly throughout the year. Of 11 specimens collected in
November and December, 1970, 10 were small juveniles (56-71 mm SL)
drifting at the surface near the jetties. Larger specimens observed on
the jetties were usually lying motionless on the sand bottom at the
base of jetty rocks.
Collections at the St. Andrew jetties were equally uncommon, with
two individuals (159 and 162 mm SL) collected in July, 1970, and one
juvenile collected by R. W. Yerger in April, 1958 (FSU 19059). Allison
(1961) collected one adult (285 mm SL) in the gulf off St. Andrew Bay
in October, 1958.
Centropristis melana Ginsburg, SOUTHERN SEABASS (CHART 18).-
The southern seabass was not observed at East Pass during 1968, and
only small numbers of juveniles or small adults were recorded ir-
regularly during 1969 and 1970. Only one or two individuals were
recorded on any date.
The species was more common on the St. Andrew jetties and may
be a more important member of the fauna there. It was often quite
numerous on the jetties and was present throughout the year. It was
recorded as common in October, 1968 and 1969, December, 1970 and
May and August, 1971. It was usually rare on the shallow parts of the
jetties during the winter, but adults were numerous on the submerged
bulkhead in the middle of the pass in January, 1971, at a temperature
Centropristis melana was usually present at the Stage II platform
off Panama City Beach, including February, 1971, but was never
numerous there. It was never seen at Stage I in deeper water or at
natural reefs offshore.
Centropristis ocyurus (Jordan and Evermann), BANK SEABASS
(CHART 19).-Chart 19 illustrates the unusual pattern of occurrence for
this species at the East Pass jetties. It was recorded there only from
August to November, 1969, and only small numbers of juveniles (46-76
mm SL) were observed.
Similar records were obtained at the St. Andrew jetties. One
juvenile (54 mm SL) was collected in May, 1968, but none was seen
during October, 1968. It was more numerous in the fall of 1969.
Several juveniles were seen in October and they were common in
December. None was seen during 1970. In January, May, July,
August, and October, 1971, no C. ocyurus were observed on the jetties
during dives, or on the submerged bulkhead in January, but juveniles
were common on the bulkhead during May and August.
Centropristis ocyurus is abundant on most offshore reefs in the
34 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
northeastern gulf and was observed on every dive on these reefs, as
well as at the Navy platforms off Panama City Beach. Both juveniles
and adults were common in all seasons during both 1970 and 1971. The
species was first described from specimens taken from the stomachs of
red snappers caught on the reefs off Pensacola and between Pensacola
and Tampa (Jordan and Gilbert 1883; Jordan and Evermann 1887).
Centropristis philadelphica (Linnaeus), ROCK SEABASS (CHART
20).-The rock seabass was common at the East Pass jetties during
the summer of 1968, even before construction of the jetties was com-
pleted, less common during September and October, and none was
seen during November and December. It did not reappear in 1969 until
May, and only small numbers were seen during May, June, and July.
None was seen after the first part of July in 1969. During 1970 small
numbers were recorded from April to August and in October. All C.
philadelphica recorded at the East Pass jetties were juveniles
(14.8-101 mm SL). The rock seabass was rare at the St. Andrew jetties,
and only a single juvenile (79 mm SL) was recorded there during this
study. Allison (1961) never recorded the species at the jetties, but he
collected several specimens within St. Andrew Bay in February, April,
August, and October. No rock seabass were seen during dives on the
offshore reefs in the area.
Diplectrum formosum (Linnaeus), SAND PERCH (CHART 21).-The
sand perch was a common fish on both the East Pass and St. Andrew
jetties, as well as on the offshore reefs. It was present at East Pass
throughout the summer and fall during the three years of the study
and was also recorded in January, February, and March, 1969. Most
seen were juveniles but adults were also present from August to Oc-
tober, 1968, May to November, 1969, and August to December, 1970.
The occurrence of the species on the jetties during the winter of 1969
may be a result of milder than usual temperatures (Fig. 3). The lowest
temperatures recorded in December, 1969 (100C), and January, 1970
(9-120C), may have prevented the movement of juveniles into the
shallow waters at the jetties.
The sand perch was recorded on nearly every dive on the shallower
parts of the St. Andrew jetties from April to December, and small
numbers were also seen during January and February, 1971, on the
submerged bulkhead in the middle of the channel, at a temperature of
Both juveniles and adults were seen on nearly every dive on the off-
shore reefs, usually over the sand substrate very near the reefs, and
were common throughout the year. This is another of the many species
recorded from the stomachs of snappers and groupers taken on the
reefs of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico (Jordan and Gilbert 1883; Jor-
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 35
Epinephelus morio (Valenciennes), RED GROUPER.-Only one red
grouper was seen at the East Pass jetties, a small adult recorded in
December, 1970. The species is occasionally caught by anglers fishing
on the artificial reefs within Choctawhatchee Bay, but it is not com-
mon. It was observed more often at the St. Andrew jetties, and
rotenone operations there showed that it was occasionally common. It
was recorded from July to December, but was most numerous during
the fall (October to December). This grouper is abundant and commer-
cially important in offshore areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico (Moe
1969; Rivas 1970), but it was rarely observed offshore during this
study. It appears to be less common on these reefs than the gag,
Mycteroperca microlepis (Goode and Bean), GAG (CHART 22).-The
gag (known locally in the northeastern gulf as black grouper) was not
seen at East Pass during 1968, but was present in small to moderate
numbers from about August or September to November during 1969
and 1970. In addition one small juvenile (20.1 mm SL) was collected in
May, 1969, and two juveniles (about 10-15 cm) were seen in July, 1969.
The gag was present throughout the year at the St. Andrew jetties,
but was most numerous from October to December (and possibly also
in April and May). It was common in December, 1969 and 1970, at
temperatures of 16.5 and 17C; several were seen in January, and one
in February, 1971, when the temperature was 130C.
The gag is the most common grouper on the reefs offshore of Destin
and Panama City. Small adults were almost always common on these
reefs, even in January and February, and no seasonal changes in abun-
dance were observed.
Serraniculus pumilio Ginsburg, PYGMY SEABASS (CHART 23).-This
species was recorded at the East Pass jetties during each year of the
study and during all months except January and April. It was usually
rare or absent during the winter and was observed in February, March,
and May, only during 1969. Chart 23 indicates a rather sporadic occur-
rence at the jetties, indicating that individuals may move about con-
siderably, although it may at times be present but overlooked because
of its small size, cryptic coloration, and sedentary habits.
The species was recorded at the St. Andrew jetties during May,
August, October, and December, and was common at times. It was not
observed on the natural offshore reefs during this study, but it was
probably often present and overlooked. It should be expected to be
common in such cases (Hastings 1973).
Serranus subligarius (Cope), BELTED SANDFISH (CHART 24).-The
belted sandfish was an important species at both the East Pass and St.
Andrew jetties. It was first recorded at East Pass during the latter
36 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
part of August, 1968, when three small juveniles were seen (27-29 mm
SL). The species was not recorded during September but both
juveniles and adults were common in October. Several were present in
November, but the species had disappeared from the area by
December and was not recorded again until March, 1969. During 1969
and 1970 it was quite numerous from about April or May through
November. The largest numbers were seen from May to August, and it
was listed as abundant during May, June, and July, 1969. Although
usually rare from December to March, several were present in
December, 1970, although none was seen on a subsequent dive in
January, 1971. One juvenile was seen in January, 1970, at a
temperature of 9C, and several juveniles (31-41 mm SL) and one small
adult (58 mm) were collected in March, 1969.
The belted sandfish was one of the most numerous fishes at the St.
Andrew jetties and was common or abundant from April through
December. It was not recorded there in January and February during
this study, but Allison (1961) listed a sight record of one individual in
This is a common fish on natural rocky reefs throughout the Gulf of
Mexico (Clark 1959; Springer and Woodburn 1960; Causey 1969) and
was present throughout the year on the reefs off Panama City and
Destin. It was common during the coldest part of the year (January
and February-150C) on these reefs at depths of 25 m.
Rypticus maculatus Holbrook, WHITESPOTTED SOAPFISH.-This
soapfish was recorded only three times at East Pass. One juvenile
(19.0 mm SL) was collected on the jetty in September, 1969, and two
juveniles (29 and 49 mm SL) were collected in October, 1970. Rotenone
was used in both cases. One adult soapfish was seen on a rock pile
under the U.S. Highway 98 bridge at East Pass in May, 1970. This fish
is especially secretive during daylight hours and may have been pres-
ent at times but not seen. Yet it was never common at East Pass.
Rotenone operations at the St. Andrew jetties revealed that Ryp-
ticus maculatus was often common there. It was recorded in March,
May, July, August, and October, and was common in rotenone collec-
tions in both May and October. No rotenone collections were attempt-
ed during the winter so its absence then is not certain.
This soapfish was recorded throughout the year (January, April,
August, and September) on the natural reefs off Panama City and
Destin, although it was only occasionally seen due to its secretive
habits. It is common on some rocky reefs in the Gulf of Mexico
(Springer and Woodburn 1960; Causey 1969) and is probably also com-
mon on those in the northeastern gulf. It is quite numerous below the
Navy platforms off Panama City.
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 37
Apogon maculatus (Poey), FLAMEFISH.-Apogon maculatus was
recorded only once during this study. Eight adults (70-74 mm SL) were
collected with rotenone on the St. Andrew jetties on 19 October 1971.
Allison (1961) collected two adults there in August, 1959. This species
may be widely distributed in the Gulf of Mexico but is apparently not
common in the northeastern portion. None was seen on any of the off-
shore reefs examined during this study, although A. pseudomaculatus
was always present and at times was abundant. Study on the reefs off
Tampa Bay (Smith 1976) has shown that A. pseudomaculatus is com-
mon but has failed to reveal A. maculatus.
The species may be more common in the western Gulf of Mexico.
Briggs et al. (1964) collected nine specimens (28.3-73.5 mm) from the
north jetty at Port Aransas, Texas, on 17 September 1962. Causey
(1969) found A. maculatus present throughout the year at Seven and
One-Half Fathom Reef off Padre Island, Texas, and Cashman (1973)
noted the species as common at the West Flower Garden Reef off
Texas. Neither of these authors mentioned A. pseudomaculatus. Son-
nier et al. (1976) listed both species at reefs off Louisiana but indicated
that A. maculatus was common while A. pseudomaculatus was rare.
Apogon pseudomaculatus Longley, TwoSPOT CARDINAL FISH.-
This species was not recorded at East Pass during this study but
Caldwell and Briggs (1957) reported one specimen (72 mm SL) col-
lected during February, 1956, under the U.S. Highway 98 bridge. At
the St. Andrew jetties, four adults (72-92 mm) were collected in Oc-
tober, 1968, and one adult (75 mm) was collected in May, 1971. Ralph
W. Yerger (pers. comm.) reported collecting 10 adults at the jetties in
This cardinal fish is one of the most numerous fishes on the natural
reefs off Destin and Panama City where it is present in considerable
numbers throughout the year. It is also common throughout the year
on reefs off Tampa Bay (Smith 1976).
References by Jordan and others to Apogon maculatus from the
snapper banks in the northern Gulf of Mexico are referable to A.
pseudomaculatus (Jordan and Gilbert 1883; Jordan and Evermann
1896). Their description of two black spots on the side, with the second
"smaller, on the upper part of tail on each side, just before root of
caudal" applies to A. pseudomaculatus, not A. maculatus.
Apogon pseudomaculatus apparently tolerates greater depths and
lower temperatures than does A. maculatus (Longley and Hildebrand
1940; B6hlke and Chaplin 1968), and one should expect it to be more
common in the northern gulf. The records of maculatus in the north-
western gulf remain a mystery. Occasional records of A. maculatus
38 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
in the gulf could result from the immigration of pelagic larvae carried
by currents, but this could not explain the permanent populations
found by Causey (1969) and others off Texas and Louisiana. Some en-
vironmental factor or factors must account for the differences in
distribution of the two species, but these factors are at present
Astrapogon alutus (Jordan and Gilbert), BRONZE CARDINAL
FISH.-This species was not recorded at East Pass, but Allison (1961)
collected single individuals at the St. Andrew jetties in October, 1958
(32.3 mm SL), and in June, 1959 (19.2 mm SL). I have also examined a
specimen (UF 5695) taken there in October, 1956.
The species is apparently common on the natural reefs offshore in
the northeastern gulf and was first described on the basis of specimens
taken from the stomachs of red snappers from off Pensacola and
Tampa (Jordan and Gilbert 1883; Jordan and Evermann 1896).
Springer and Woodburn (1960) and Smith (1976) found the species
common on the rocky reefs off Tampa Bay.
Phaeoptyx pigmentaria (Poey), DUSKY CARDINALFISH.-One adult
Phaeoptyx pigmentaria (46 mm SL) was collected at the East Pass jet-
ties in October, 1970, at a temperature of 250C. One specimen (also 46
mm SL) that is apparently also this species was collected, with a
number of other cardinalfishes which are more like P. xenus, at the St.
Andrew jetties in October, 1972, by Ralph W. Yerger. Other records of
this species in the northern gulf are discussed under the following ac-
count of P. xenus.
Phaeoptyx xenus (Bohlke and Randall), SPONGE CARDINALFISH.-
Several specimens of Phaeoptyx that are more similar to P. xenus than
to P. pigmentaria have been collected at the St. Andrew jetties. These
specimens have been examined by James E. B6hlke who was unable to
identify them to species, although he also concluded that they are
most like P. xenus. During some years, this xenus-like species was ap-
parently common at St. Andrew Bay. On August 1, 1967, Camm C.
Swift and the author observed a small group of these cardinalfish just
within the hollow end of a log near the southwest shore of Grand
Lagoon about one mile from the jetties. These fish would retreat
deeper into the log when approached, but three were collected and
measured 23-26 mm SL. On 4 August 1967, nine specimens were col-
lected with rotenone on the lagoon side of the east jetty. Single in-
dividuals were collected at the east jetty in October, 1968 (30 mm SL),
and in October, 1969 (18 mm SL). Ralph W. Yerger collected 10
Phaeoptyx at the St. Andrew jetties in October, 1972, one of which is
P. pigmentaria (46 mm SL) while nine are the P. xenus form (30-40 mm
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 39
SL). He collected seven specimens that are all the P. xenus form (25-45
mm SL) in October, 1973. Allison (1961) collected three juveniles in Oc-
tober, 1958, and one in August, 1959, which are also this form.
Caldwell and Briggs (1957) reported collecting three juvenile
specimens 26-27 mm SL (which they identified as Apogon pigmen-
tarius) at the St. Andrew jetties in October, 1955. These specimens
(UF 5389) have been examined by the author and are the P. xenus
Phaeoptyx was never observed on the offshore reefs during this
study. It was not collected in the Gulf of Mexico by the R/V Oregon
and Silver Bay (Springer and Bullis 1956; Bullis and Thompson 1965)
nor was it recorded from snapper and grouper stomachs in the exten-
sive studies of Jordan and others. However, Herbert M. Austin (pers.
comm.) reported finding one Phaeoptyx (FSU 19148) that was dam-
aged, but may be this type, in the stomach of a Mycteroperca phenax
collected during June, 1967, in the Gulf of Mexico. Springer and Wood-
burn (1960) recorded four specimens as Apogon conklini, a similar
species, from the offshore reefs, but my examination of specimens col-
lected in that area by Springer indicates that these too are P. xenus.
Smith (1976) collected specimens that are Phaeoptyx xenus from
natural patch reefs off Tampa Bay and suggested that this species is
the most common in the eastern gulf. Causey (1969) and Cashman
(1973) listed conklini from reefs off the Texas coast, and Cashman had
three Phaeoptyx pigmentaria (12.0, 40.1, and 47.2 mm SL) from the
West Flower Garden Reef.
Accurate descriptions of the distribution of species of Phaeoptyx in
the gulf will require extensive collecting using special techniques, as
their cryptic habits have prevented the collection of large series. It
seems that Phaeoptyx pigmentaria is a straggler in the northern gulf,
but the P. xenus form is apparently widely distributed in the north-
eastern gulf and may be a permanent resident.
Pomatomus saltatrix (Linnaeus), BLUEFISH (CHART 25).-The
bluefish was not recorded at the East Pass jetties during 1968, but oc-
casionally schools congregated near the jetties between June and
September in 1969 and between May and December, 1970. The species
was less often recorded at the St. Andrew jetties but was common at
times and was usually present from May through December. During
1971 it was present in February at a temperature of 130C. According
to sport fishermen in the area, the bluefish are usually absent from
December to March.
40 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Echeneis neucratoides Zuieuw, WHITEFISH SHARKSUCKER (CHART
26).-Identification of sharksuckers seen during this study was based
upon characteristics given by Bohlke and Chaplin (1968). Sight
records could include Echeneis naucrates, but apparently E.
neucratoides is the more common of the two inshore in the northern
At the East Pass jetties, only one sharksucker was seen during
1968, and only four or five in 1969. During 1970, one or more in-
dividuals were seen during all months between April and November,
except August. Those seen were most often free-swimming, and the in-
crease in numbers at the jetties is apparently not a result of an in-
crease in the numbers of any particular host species. The increase may
be related to the general increase in diversity of fishes on the jetties.
Sharksuckers were recorded at the St. Andrew jetties in May, July,
August, October, and December. Sharksuckers were also commonly
seen attached to larger fishes in the vicinity of offshore reefs.
Caranx bartholomaei Cuvier, YELLOW JACK (CHART 27).-Juvenile
or small adult yellow jacks (up to 25 cm long) were recorded at East
Pass from July to September during 1968, from June to September
during 1969, and from May through November during 1970. They
were usually seen in groups of about 3-5 individuals of similar size.
Observations of this species at the St. Andrew jetties were fewer but
show the same general seasonal occurrence, with the species present
from May through October. This species was never observed on the
natural reefs offshore, but was occasionally seen under the Stage II
platform off Panama City.
Caranx crysos (Mitchill), BLUE RUNNER (CHART 28).-The blue run-
ner was the most numerous carangid at the East Pass jetties and was
present for a greater part of the year than was any other species of
jack. However, its occurrence (Chart 28) shows a distinct seasonal pat-
tern, with the species first appearing in the area in May and remaining
through October or November. The species was recorded from April to
December at the St. Andrew jetties. Water temperatures on the dates
in May when it was first recorded at East Pass were 240C (1969) and
280C (1970). Temperatures on dates when the species was last seen in
the fall were 240C (November, 1968 and 1969) and 180C (November,
1970), although the species was still quite numerous at the St. Andrew
jetties in December, 1970, at a temperature of 17C. These records
agree with temperatures given by McKenny et al. (1958), who found
larvae and juveniles at 17.3-30.80C, but suggested that the species
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 41
was normally found at temperatures above 200C. Berry (1959) sug-
gested that Caranx crysos along the Atlantic coast of the United
States either migrates to the south or moves offshore during the colder
months. It apparently migrates southward in the Gulf of Mexico,
along the Florida coast.
The species was not recorded on the natural reefs offshore, but
large numbers were present during the summer and fall near the Navy
platforms off Panama City. Klima and Wickham (1971), while study-
ing the attraction of fishes to artificial structures at depths of 11-13 m
off Panama City, found that structures placed at the water surface at-
tracted significantly more jacks, including blue runners, than did
structures placed in midwater. Many pelagic fishes such as Caranx
crysos are attracted to reefs and other solid structures, but it appears
that more are attracted to such structures only when they come near
or actually break the water surface.
Caranx hippos (Linnaeus), CREVALLE JACK (CHART 29.-The occur-
rence of Caranx hippos at the East Pass jetties shows an increasing
seasonal pattern. Adult crevalle (about 0.5 m long) were seen at the jet-
ties only during May but were present in schools of about 20-30 in-
dividuals during that month in both 1969 and 1970. Such schools were
also seen in May, 1968 and 1970, at the St. Andrew jetties. These
larger individuals did not remain in the area and were not seen again
later in the year.
In August or September, larger schools of smaller crevalle (14-18
cm SL) began to congregate about the East Pass jetties and remained
through about November. Schools of crevalle of comparable size were
recorded at the St. Andrew jetties in October and December. These are
apparently the young "of about one pound weight" that Stearns (in
Goode 1884) reported as coming out of the salt water bayous in the fall
on their way to the sea. Since the first stage of this migration begins
when temperatures are still at the maximum (about 300 C), some factor
(or factors) other than temperature must control the migrations. These
northern gulf populations probably migrate southward for the winter,
but studies to support this theory are lacking.
Caranx ruber (Bloch), BAR JACK (CHART 30).-This species was not
recorded at the East Pass Jetties in 1968, but small groups (fewer than
10) of juveniles and small adults were seen during July, August, and
September, 1969, and during August and September, 1970. Single in-
dividuals were also seen during October and November, 1970. Small
groups were seen at the St. Andrew jetties during the months of July
and October, 1970 and 1971, and the species was relatively common
near the surface at the Stage I and II platforms off Panama City dur-
ing the summer and fall.
42 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
The bar jack is rare in most parts of the Gulf of Mexico (Berry
1959), probably as a result of its affinity for shallow reef habitats and
high temperatures (Randall 1968). Larval and juvenile bar jack may be
carried into the Gulf of Mexico by the Yucatan current but apparently
do not form permanent populations because of the absence of reef
habitats near the water surface. The occurrence of small adult in-
dividuals at the jetties indicates that at least some fish of larger sizes
frequently migrate northward in the gulf, or that some remain for
several years in the northern gulf.
Decapterus punctatus (Agassiz), ROUND SCAD (CHART 31).-Schools
of round scad were usually present at the East Pass jetties from April
or May to September and some were present in November, 1969, and
in October, November, and December, 1970. It was recorded at the St.
Andrew jetties from April through October. Large schools were nearly
always present under the Navy platforms off Panama City, especially
during the summer and fall, and the species was also seen near natural
reefs off Panama City in January.
This species is one of the most important bait fishes along the
northwest Florida coast. Large schools are seen in open water but the
species shows considerable attraction to solid structures (Klima and
Wickham 1971) and often concentrates in large numbers near bridges,
piers, or jetties. It does not occur inshore in most parts of the gulf
(Tampa Bay, Springer and Woodburn 1960; Cedar Key, Reid 1954;
Alligator Harbor, Joseph and Yerger 1956; Mobile Bay, Alabama,
Boschung 1957; or Texas, Gunter 1945 and Hoese 1958), but may be
restricted to clear high-salinity, oceanic water. Its abundance along
the northwest Florida coast may be attributed to the unique
hydrological conditions of the area.
Oligoplites saurus (Bloch and Schneider), LEATHERJACKET (CHART
32).-Schools of leatherjacket first appeared near the East Pass jetties
in April and May (of 1969 and 1970). These schools apparently moved
out of the area (possibly into the bay), and only small groups of several
individuals were present sporadically in June and July. None was
observed in those months in 1968. The species was much more
numerous during August, September, and October, and several were
still present in November (during 1968 and 1969). All had disappeared
Oligoplites saurus was recorded at the St. Andrew jetties from
April to October, but the number of observations was not sufficient to
indicate a bimodal pattern. The species was never recorded offshore
during this study.
Selene vomer (Linnaeus), LOOKDOWN (CHART 33),-This species was
recorded only irregularly at East Pass (in November, 1968, October,
1969, and June, 1970) and was not recorded at the St. Andrew jetties
nor on the offshore reefs during this study.
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 43
Seriola zonata (Mitchill), BANDED RUDDERFISH (CHART 34).-Seri-
ola zonata was consistently present at the East Pass jetties for a brief
period during late spring and summer. It was present in moderate
numbers in June, July, and August, 1968, but only small numbers
were present during May and June, 1969. The species was present only
during June in 1970, but was common during part of that month. The
reason for the brief occurrence of the species at East Pass is not
known. The species was rarely seen at the St. Andrew jetties and was
never observed on the offshore reefs.
Trachinotus carolinus (Linnaeus), FLORIDA POMPANO (CHART 35).-
The Florida pompano was often seen swimming very near the East
Pass jetties from May to October but was more common in the open
areas around the jetties and along the gulf beaches. It is characteristic
of sandy beaches of the northern gulf coast but shows little attraction
for reef structures. It was most numerous at East Pass during 1968
and was present from June through October. In 1969 the species was
first recorded in May but was not seen after August. It was rare in
1970 and was seen only during two dives in July and October. There
was apparently a general decline in the abundance of this species in the
Destin area during 1969 (which was also recognized by commercial
fishermen in the area), and the decline apparently continued through
1970. Irby (1974) found that commercial landings of pompano in
Okaloosa and Walton counties were considerably fewer during 1969
and 1970 than in 1968. Although juvenile pompano were recorded in
this study as common at the St. Andrew jetties during June, July, and
August, 1970, Irby also reported declines in landings for Gulf,
Washington, and Bay counties (which include St. Andrew Bay).
Trachurus lathami NICHOLS, ROUGH SCAD.-Small juveniles of this
species were recorded at the East Pass jetties drifting near objects in
the water. Several were seen in August, 1969, under a large jellyfish,
and one was seen in April, 1970, under a jellyfish. In June, 1970, a
group of juvenile fishes, including two Trachurus lathami (14.9 and
15.4 mm SL), two Chloroscombrus chrysurus, and 13 Monacanthus
hispidus, was collected beneath a small paper cup as it drifted with the
current near the jetty. Several adult Trachurus lathami were seen in
the deeper water on the submerged bulkhead at St. Andrew Pass in
May, 1971, but no others were recorded at the St. Andrew jetties.
Adults were often present in large numbers below the Navy plat-
forms off Panama City where they always seemed to remain near the
bottom, and small schools of adults were present near the bottom at
Warsaw Hole during January, 1971.
Adults of this species are characteristic of deeper reef habitats in
the northern gulf and do not normally occur at depths as shallow as
those at the jetties. Jordan (1885; also Jordan and Gilbert 1883, 1884)
recorded specimens (as T. saurus, T. trachurus, and Caranx trachurus)
44 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
from the stomachs of snappers and groupers from the northern Gulf of
Lutjanus campechanus (Poey), RED SNAPPER.-One red snapper
(318 mm SL) was collected at the East Pass jetties on 21 November
1970. No others were recorded although single juvenile snappers that
could have been this species were observed in October and November,
1968, and in September, 1970. None was recorded at the St. Andrew
jetties although juveniles are often collected in St. Andrew Bay
(Allison 1961; Vick 1964; Larry H. Ogren, pers. comm.).
Small red snappers were seen on most dives on the natural reefs off-
shore, and party boats catch them throughout the year. There appears
to be some movement offshore during the winter and inshore in sum-
mer (Moe 1963; Moseley 1966b), but adults apparently rarely move in-
to shallow coastal waters.
Jordan (1885, and others) compiled an extensive list of fishes that
had been recorded from the snapper banks off Pensacola, including
many that were taken from the stomachs or "spewings" of red snap-
pers. Although some of these were taken from other species of snap-
pers and groupers, most came from Lutjanus campechanus since this
was the dominant species in the catches. Jordan's studies not anly
gave information regarding the feeding habits of snappers but also
added several new species to the known fauna of North America.
Lutjanus griseus (Linnaeus), GRAY SNAPPER (CHART 36).-Lutjanus
griseus is the only snapper that was consistently present at the East
Pass jetties. It was always present and most numerous from about
August to November, but small groups or single individuals were pres-
ent sporadically from March through July. One was also seen in
December, 1970. Almost all the gray snappers recorded at East Pass
were small adults, approximately 19-28 cm SL. Two small juveniles
(11.8 and 10.0 MM SL) were collected in July, 1969, one juvenile (49.5
mm SL) was collected in September, 1968, and several juveniles (ap-
proximately 10-15 cm SL) were seen during November, 1970. Snappers
were usually seen in loose aggregations on the deeper parts of the jet-
ties, usually at the south ends. They were recorded at temperatures as
low as 14C (one adult recorded in March, 1969) but were common only
at temperatures above 20-250C.
Lutjanus griseus was recorded at the St. Andrew jetties from April
to October. Juveniles were more common there than at East Pass,
possibly because of the presence of grass beds and the shallow water
lagoons. Juveniles were common only in October, but one was also
seen in April. Allison (1961) collected juveniles in the grass flats
behind the east jetty in October, 1958, and from shore areas within the
bay in June, July, and August.
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 45
Vick (1964) noted that Lutjanus griseus is uncommon in the off-
shore snapper fishery but that commercial fishermen often catch this
species along the edges of the navigation channel inside the St. An-
drew jetties. These catches probably represent schools that con-
gregate about the submerged bulkhead in the pass.
Gray snappers were occasionally seen during dives on the offshore
reefs, although they were never common in these locations. They were
common at times below the Navy platforms off Panama City. They
were present throughout the winter on offshore reefs, at temperatures
as low as 150C.
Eucinostomus sp. MOJARRAS (CHART 37).-Prejuvenile fish of this
family (9.0-11.8 mm SL) were recorded at the East Pass jetties at ir-
regular intervals from July or August to November during 1969 and
1970. These were probably either Eucinostomus argenteus Baird and
Girard or E. gula (Quoy and Gaimard), the two most common gerreids
in the northern Gulf of Mexico, but were too small to be positively
identified. In November, 1970, two adult gerreids that appeared to be
E. gula were seen near the East Pass jetties, and small schools of E.
argenteus were occasionally seen in the lagoons at East Pass. Both
species were collected at the St. Andrew jetties during this study,
usually from the lagoon formed by the east jetty, and mostly in the
months of October. These two species are thought to spawn offshore in
the gulf (Kilby 1955; Springer and Woodburn 1960), and the occur-
rence of large schools of prejuveniles at the jetties probably results
from their movement into the estuary from the open gulf.
Haemulon aurolineatum Cuvier, TOMTATE.-The tomtate was
recorded only twice at East Pass during this study. A rather large
school of small juveniles (about 15-20 mm SL) was seen at the south
end of the west jetty in October, 1969, and one juvenile was seen on the
east jetty in August, 1970. The species was more common at the St.
Andrew jetties where both juveniles and adults were collected. Small
juveniles (less than 30 mm SL) were recorded during August and Oc-
tober, and adults were observed during May, August, October, and
December, but were usually most common in October.
This species is a dominant fish in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, and it
was commonly recorded on the reefs offshore of Destin and Panama
City, where it was present throughout the year. It was abundant at
times and was usually also abundant below the Navy platforms off
Panama City Beach.
In reference to the occurrence of this species at Pensacola and Key
46 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
West, Jordan and Evermann (1898) stated that "at the latter place the
young swarm everywhere about the wharves and shores," This state-
ment has been misquoted by several authors (Hildebrand 1954; Reid
1954; Boschung 1957), who have suggested that juvenile H.
aurolineatum are abundant at Pensacola. "At the latter place" refers
to Key West and the species is rare inshore at Pensacola, just as it is in
most other parts of the northern gulf.
Jordan and Gilbert (1883) and Jordan (1885) collected specimens
from the stomachs of snappers and groupers taken off Pensacola, and
Springer and Woodburn (1960) recorded hundreds of small specimens
from the spewings of a single Epinephelus morio off Tampa.
Haemulon plumieri (Lacepede), WHITE GRUNT.-The white grunt
was recorded once at East Pass, a single adult being seen in December,
1970. The species was present at the St. Andrew jetties from about
April or May to December at temperatures as low as 17C, and several
adults were observed on the submerged bulkhead in the middle of the
channel during January, 1971, at 130C. Allison (1961) reported
sighting one adult at the east jetty in January, 1959. Although not
numerous, Haemulon plumieri is a consistent member of the fauna at
the St. Andrew jetties and has been recorded each year between 1967
The white grunt is a characteristic species on the offshore reefs of
the Gulf of Mexico but was not often observed during dives on these
reefs and was never present in large numbers. It was recorded
throughout the year, however, including February and March.
Orthopristis chrysoptera (Linnaeus), PIGFISH (CHART 38).-Ortho-
pristis chrysoptera is an abundant species inshore in the northern Gulf
of Mexico and was one of the dominant species at the East Pass and
St. Andrew Bay jetties. It is most characteristic of grassbeds but is
also often common in other habitats that provide suitable food
sources, such as the jetties with their abundant algal growth and in-
vertebrates. The species may have some affinity for reef structures,
however, since large schools were present on the jetties during the ini-
tial stages of this study, even before most rocks had become encrusted
with algae and invertebrates.
The pigfish is a seasonal resident of inshore waters of the northern
gulf, as shown by its occurrence at the East Pass jetties (Chart 38).
The species was common (or abundant) through November in 1968,
but was completely absent during the following two and a half months
when the water temperature was between 12 and 14C. One or two
adults were seen during the latter part of February, 1969, at 150C, and
several adults were present during March. Large schools of adults had
appeared by the first part of April (at a temperature of 20C), and
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 47
large numbers were present throughout the spring, summer, and fall
until the latter part of November. The species was common on
November 3 at temperatures of 20 (surface) to 24C (bottom). On
November 28 the species was no longer present and the temperature
had dropped to 17 C. The winter of 1969-1970 was considerably colder
than the preceding one, and pigfish did not reappear until the latter
part of April (temperature 21.5-24C). They were not common until
May (27C). These latter temperatures are considerably higher than
those recorded when pigfish were first observed in 1969, so possibly
the schools had moved farther offshore during the colder winter and re-
quired more time to return inshore. The species was common through
December during 1970 when the temperature had dropped as low as
140C, but these were present mostly on the deeper parts of the jetties
and had completely disappeared by 12 January 1971, when the
temperature was 13-14C. Orthopristis chrysoptera is also a dominant
species at St. Andrew jetties and was recorded from April through
December, at temperatures from 16.5 to 310C. Prejuvenile pigfish
(10-25 mm SL) were collected at East Pass in May, 1971, and at the St.
Andrew jetties in April and May, 1970, and in May, 1971.
Pigfish are rare on the offshore reefs of the northern gulf, although
they were unusually numerous below the Stage II platform off
Panama City Beach. The inshore populations apparently move off-
shore in the gulf to spend the winter (Moe and Martin 1965), but most
of them apparently remain over open sandy bottoms.
Archosargus probatocephalus (Walbaum), SHEEPSHEAD (CHART
39).-Sheepshead occurred irregularly on the jetties at East Pass, but
Chart 39 indicates that the species was present during two periods of
the year, and was possibly migrating through the area when observed.
It was most numerous during late winter or spring (from February to
May). According to fishermen, large numbers of sheepshead are
caught during the winter under the Highway 98 bridge over East Pass.
Only single individuals or pairs of individuals were seen during the re-
mainder of the year, although none was recorded during June and July
(of all three years), and only single individuals were recorded during
August and September (of 1969). The species was more consistently
present in October, November, and December than in the summer
season, but only small numbers were observed.
Sheepshead were recorded at the St. Andrew jetties throughout the
year, but the seasons when it was most numerous correspond to those
at East Pass, except that the species tended to remain on the St. An-
drew jetties through the winter. It was common there during January,
48 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
February, April, May, and December, at temperatures from 13-25.50C,
but small numbers were also recorded during June, August, and Oc-
Sheepshead were not often observed on the offshore reefs. Single in-
dividuals were recorded offshore in April, August, and September, and
5-10 were seen off Destin during February at a depth of 21 m.
Apparently the sheepshead in the northern Gulf of Mexico migrate
inshore during the fall, spend the winter near suitable structures pro-
viding food in the form of encrusting invertebrates, and then migrate
offshore in late winter or spring (Stearns in Goode 1884). Apparently
the St. Andrew jetties provided a more favorable habitat for sheeps-
head than did the East Pass jetties, possibly because of greater water
depth and greater substrate area for browsing.
Diplodus holbrooki (Bean), SPOTTAIL PINFISH (CHART 40).-The oc-
currence chart for Dipolodus holbrooki at East Pass indicates that the
population using the jetty habitat during the spring, summer, and fall
continued to increase throughout the three-year period of study. Dur-
ing 1968, several juveniles (about 10 cm SL) were recorded in June, a
single small adult was recorded in September, and several juveniles or
small adults (about 15 cm SL) were recorded during October and
November. The species was not seen subsequently until the following
June 28 when a single juvenile (about 7 cm SL) was observed. Small
numbers of juveniles or small adults were present during the months
of July, August, September, and October, and during the early part of
November. In 1970 spottail pinfish appeared inshore earlier and oc-
curred in greater numbers than during the previous two years.
Juveniles (about 12 cm SL) were first seen during April, and a school of
14 small juveniles (one measured 30.6 mm SL) was seen in May. The
species was present through the remainder of the year until the latter
part of December and was recorded as common during July, August,
September, October, and December.
Records at the St. Andrew jetties were similar to those obtained at
East Pass during 1970. The species was recorded in March (1968 only),
April, May, June, July, August, October, November and December,
and was common from May to December. Large adults (up to about 25
cm SL) were often seen.
The spottail pinfish was not observed during this study on the
natural reefs offshore, but fishermen report that it does occur on some
of these reefs. Springer and Woodburn (1960) reported seeing large
specimens near rocky reefs off Tampa Bay in February.
Lagodon rhomboides (Linnaeus), PINFISi (ClART's 41 and 42).-The
pinfish was the second most numerous non-pelagic species at the East
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 49
Pass jetties. It was a dominant member of the jetty fauna, and adults
were almost always abundant from May through about November.
During the remainder of the year, considerably fewer pinfish were
present inshore but were replaced by large schools of prejuveniles
(11.0-27.0 mm SL). However, during the relatively mild winter of
1968-69, adult pinfish were quite common at East Pass although con-
siderably less numerous than during the warmer part of the year.
Schools of adults were also seen below the Highway 98 bridge during
January, 1969. Possibly correlated with the occurrence of adults at the
jetties during February and March, 1969, prejuveniles were not
recorded at the jetties that winter but were collected in shallow water
under the bridge in February, 1969.
At the St. Andrew jetties adults were consistently abundant from
May to about October or November but were also recorded as abun-
dant on March 30 and during April, 1968. Adults were always rare or
absent during December, January, and February. Prejuveniles or
juveniles were present in large numbers from December through May.
No pinfish were observed on the natural reefs offshore during this
study although the species was common throughout the warmer
months under the Stage II platform off Panama City Beach, and small
numbers were observed in the winter.
Lagodon rhomboides is a ubiquitous species in the northern Gulf of
Mexico and is found in numerous inshore habitats, although Caldwell
(1957) found it most characteristic of vegetated areas and secondarily
near irregularities such as rocks, pilings, docks, and breakwaters.
Springer and Woodburn (1960) found pinfish abundant along the
sandy beaches at Tampa Bay most of the year, so pinfish were prob-
ably common at East Pass prior to construction of the jetties. These
structures may have increased the pinfish populations there by in-
creasing desirable habitat and food sources.
Bairdiella chrysura (Lacepede), SILVER PERCH (CHART 43).-Adult
silver perch were recorded at the East Pass jetties from May to Oc-
tober but were present rather irregularly. In 1968, the species was
common from June to September and was considered abundant during
July. In 1968, it was observed only twice, on May 31 when several
were seen near the south end of the west jetty and on August 16 when
one large school was seen on the west jetty. During 1970, there was a
bimodal occurrence corresponding to the dates of occurrence recorded
during 1969. Large schools were recorded in late May and early June,
but none was recorded during the latter part of June or in July. The
species was again abundant in August and large numbers were present
50 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
from then through October. The species was also observed in Old Pass
Lagoon (Fig. 2) in December, 1970.
Silver perch were also sporadic in occurrence at the St. Andrew jet-
ties, although at times they were abundant. They were recorded during
the months of April, May, July, August, and October. None was ever
observed offshore on the natural reefs or at the Navy platforms off
Equetus lanceolatus (Linnaeus), JACKKNIFE FISH.-The jackknife
fish was never recorded at East Pass but was recorded twice at the St.
Andrew jetties. One small juvenile (28.0 mm SL) was collected in
September, 1967, and two juveniles (45.5 and 46.0 mm SL) were col-
lected in October 1969. Adults were commonly seen in dives on the off-
shore reefs, and were usually present at the Navy platforms off
Panama City, including in February, 1971, at a temperature of 13C.
Three collected then measured 163, 166, and 174 mm SL. The species
is common offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, where it is usually
associated with reef areas, but only small juveniles venture inshore to
Equetus umbrosus Jordan and Eigenmann, CuBBYu.-One juvenile
cubbyu was seen at the East Pass jetties in June, 1969, and single
adults were observed in August and December, 1970. The species was
common at times on the St. Andrew jetties and was collected on
almost every occasion that rotenone was used. Adults were recorded in
the months of May, August, October, and December, and were con-
sidered common during both May and October. Small juveniles were
recorded during April, May, and October. Allison (1961) collected the
species at the jetties during August, September, October, and
November, and reported sighting one juvenile during January, 1959.
Equetus umbrosus was common on the offshore reefs where it was
recorded throughout the year (January, February, March, April,
August, and September).
Another, undescribed species of Equetus (or Pareques) was re-
corded offshore in this study. One juvenile (88 mm SL; 110 mm TL)
was collected on 21 January 1971, at Warsaw Hole off Panama City,
under a rock ledge with a large group of E. umbrosus, and Larry H.
Ogren (Hastings et al. 1976) collected two juveniles (67 and 92 mm TL)
at the Stage I platform on 7 September 1971. This species is said to be
common at depths of 30-35 fathoms (54-63 m) along the south Atlantic
coast of the United States (George C. Miller, pers. comm.). Bullis and
Thompson (1965) listed this species as "Equetus sp. nov." and
reported it from off Texas, North Carolina, and northwest Florida.
Struhsaker (1969) reported the species as "Blackbar drum, Pareques
sp. (undescribed)" and listed it as common along the shelf edge of the
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 51
southeastern United States coast. This species apparently never oc-
Leiostomus xanthurus Lacepede, SPOT (CHARTS 44 and 45).-The
Spot was a dominant species at the East Pass jetties. Adults were
present in variable numbers from April through November or
December (Chart 44). They were abundant during most of 1968, but
were less numerous although almost always present in 1969 and 1970.
During early November of each year, large masses of adult Leiostomus
xanthurus were observed schooling over sandy areas near the jetties.
Such schools were observed on 1 November 1968 (temperature 240C),
3 November 1969 (20-24C), and 9 November 1970 (22 C), and are
believed to have been spawning aggregations. Specimens collected
from these aggregations had well-developed gonads in spawning condi-
tion. On the subsequent observation following each of these dates (on
14 December 1968, 14 November 1969, and 19 November 1970), large
numbers of larvae or prejuveniles (7.5-13.3 mm SL) were present
(Chart 45). These young spot remained on the jetties through the
winter and were the most numerous species from December through
March. Most had disappeared from the area of the jetties by April or
May, probably moving into the bay, although some larger juveniles re-
mained on the jetties and are included in the records shown in Chart
Records at the St. Andrew jetties are similar, and show the same
pattern of occurrence. Advanced juveniles and adults were recorded in
April, May, June, July, August, and October, and larvae and pre-
juveniles were recorded in December, January, and April. No
Leiostomus xanthurus were recorded on offshore reefs during this
study, but adults were usually common during the summer and fall at
the Stage II platform off Panama City.
The spot is most characteristic of flat, open bottoms of sand or mud
in estuaries, but evidently has some attraction to solid structures such
as rock jetties. Springer and Woodburn (1960) found that it is a major
component of the beach fauna along the west Florida coast only during
spring and early summer. Adults of the species apparently remained
throughout the spring, summer, and fall at East Pass as a direct result
of the existence of the jetties, since those seen in the area were usually
very near or actually among the jetty rocks.
Menticirrhus focaliger Ginsburg, MINKFISH (CHART 46).-Two
small adult minkfish (124 and 117 mm SL) were collected with
rotenone in September, 1968, at the East Pass jetties, and one juvenile
(86.5 mm SL) was collected and one large adult was seen near the
beach at East Pass in May, 1969. Small juveniles were collected on 22
March (21.2 mm SL), 30 May (25.5 mm SL) and 12 June 1969 (7,
9.5-23.0 mm SL), and on 9 July 1970 (3, 16.2-30.0 mm SL). Two
52 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
juveniles (18.1 and 20.6 mm SL) were collected at the St. Andrew jet-
ties on 25 April 1970.
Sport fishermen catch whiting (including M. americanus and M. lit-
toralis as well as M focaliger) along the sandy beaches of the north-
west Florida coast from March to October, but the species are ap-
parently not attracted to reef-like structures.
Kyphosus incisor (Cuvier), YELLOW CHUB.-On 18 May 1971, one
large Kyphosus incisor (290 mm SL) and one K. sectatrix (248 mm SL)
were collected with rotenone at the east jetty at St. Andrew Bay.
Several other chubs were seen at the time on the channel side of the
jetty, but K. incisor was not recognized in the field, and it is not known
how many of each species were present. Only K. sectatrix has been
previously recorded in the Gulf of Mexico north of Tortugas (Moore
1962) and Campeche bank (Chavez 1966). However, the two species are
similar in appearance, and some K. incisor could have been incorrectly
identified as K. sectatrix, especially in the case of sight records.
Kyphosus sectatrix (Linnaeus), BERMUDA CHUB (CHART 47).-
Kyphosus sectatrix (possibly including some K. incisor as noted
above) was present erratically at the East Pass jetties from the latter
part of May through October or November, but the species was also
common on 1 December 1970 (16-190C) and five adults were seen on 12
January 1971 (13-140C). Those present at the jetties were almost
always seen at the seaward ends of the jetties where they darted in and
out among the larger rocks near the surface. They seemed to prefer
areas with the greatest amount of surge. The species was recorded at
the St. Andrew jetties from April to October and appeared to occur
with about the same frequency as at East Pass. It was not seen on the
natural reefs offshore, but several were usually present during the
warmer months at the Navy platforms off Panama City.
Dawson (1963) suggested that K. sectatrix was a tropical or sub-
tropical stray carried into the northern gulf as pelagic larvae or
juveniles. The records from west Florida indicate that it is a more
characteristic member of the northern gulf fauna and should be ex-
pected where suitable habitat, such as the jetties, is available. Some
apparently remain through the winter since large adults have been
recorded inshore early in the spring (April and May).
Moore (1962) noted that south Florida and Caribbean populations
of K. sectatrix differed in the number of scales in a straight line from
the cleithrum to the caudal peduncle. In this respect specimens col-
lected at the East Pass, St. Andrew, and Pensacola Bay jetties (52-54
scales) are more similar to south Florida populations (most with 48-54
scales) than to Caribbean populations (54-58 scales), further indicating
that these northern gulf chubs have not drifted from the Caribbean.
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 53
Chaetodipterus faber (Broussonet), ATLANTIC SPADEFISH (CHART
48).-Schools of juveniles or small adult spadefish were often present
on the East Pass jetties from April through November, and some re-
mained in the deeper areas at the south end of the west jetty through
December, 1970, and January, 1971, when the temperature had
dropped to about 13-14C. Its occurrence at the jetties was sporadic,
especially during 1969, indicating that schools of spadefish were con-
tinually moving into and out of the area. Those observed near the jet-
ties were most often inactive and hidden in crevices between rocks or
else swimming in close proximity to the jetties.
Spadefish were recorded at the St. Andrew jetties from April
through December, but large schools were observed on the submerged
bulkhead in the channel during January and February, 1971, at
temperatures of 130C. In February they were considered abundant.
Spadefish were often seen on the offshore reefs but were most
numerous offshore during the winter. Apparently the largest adults
(more than 300 mm SL) remain offshore in the vicinity of reefs and
rarely come inshore.
Chaetodon capistratus Linnaeus, FOUREYE BUTTERFLYFISH.-The
foureye butterflyfish was recorded twice at East Pass. Single juveniles
were observed on the jetties on 28 August and 27 September 1969. The
one recorded in September was 35.2 mm SL. Small numbers were
usually present at the St. Andrew jetties during late summer and fall.
Allison (1961) collected single juveniles at the east jetty during June
(27.6 mm SL) and July (17.5 mm), in 1959, but observed many there in
November, 1958. During this study, one juvenile was recorded during
August, 1967, several juveniles (one measured 44.4 mm) during Oc-
tober, 1969, two juveniles during August, 1971, and several juveniles
or small adults during October, 1971. Five collected on the latter date
measured 33.1, 46.6, 49.4, 58.5, and 60.4 mm SL. None was observed at
the St. Andrew jetties during 1970 despite several observations there
during April, May, June, July, August, October, and December.
This species was not recorded on the offshore reefs during this
study, but Gregory B. Smith (1975, 1976) has found it rare at depths of
12-18 m off Tampa Bay, and it is also rare on the Florida Middle
Ground (Smith et al. 1975) and the Texas Flower Gardens (Sonnier et
al. 1976). Haburay et al. (1969) recorded small numbers of juveniles at
the mouth of Pensacola Bay, but there are apparently no other pub-
lished records of the species in the northern Gulf of Mexico. In con-
trast it is the most common butterflyfish in the Bahamas and West
54 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Indies (B6hlke and Chaplin 1968; Randall 1968). It apparently occurs
in the northern gulf only as a straggler.
Chaetodon ocellatus Bloch, SPOTFIN BUTTERFLYFISH (CHART 49).-
Spotfin butterflyfish were recorded at the East Pass jetties from July
or August to November. Small juveniles (less than 25 mm SL) were
recorded during August and October, 1968, and during September and
November, 1969 and 1970. Adults were recorded from July to
November. Caldwell and Briggs (1957) reported one adult (88 mm SL)
collected in August, 1955, under the Highway 98 bridge at East Pass.
The species was recorded from May through December at the St.
Andrew jetties. Small juveniles were recorded during May, July,
August, September, and October and adults were recorded from May
to December. Caldwell (1959) reported collecting four specimens (18,
22, 25, and 39 mm SL) at the St. Andrew jetties during June, 1958.
Several adults were observed on the channel side of the jetties on 11
December 1970 at a temperature of 170C. Thus, some butterflyfishes
might be able to survive at the jetties through the winter, especially
during mild years. Yet none has been seen during the limited number
of winter dives at the St. Andrew jetties, so most either move offshore
for the winter or else are killed by low winter temperatures. Both
juveniles and adults (up to 100 mm SL) were recorded at the jetties, in-
dicating that recruitment of populations on the jetties results both
from immigration of recently spawned young and from movement of
adults inshore from the offshore reefs. Thus, if adults can successfully
move inshore to the jetties in the summer, they should also be capable
of moving offshore to the natural reefs to spend the winter.
Adults were often seen on the natural reefs off Destin and Panama
City, and usually were seen in pairs. They were present throughout the
year, including the winter at temperatures of 150C. The species is ap-
parently widely distributed on the continental shelf of North America
and is found throughout the Gulf of Mexico where suitable rocky
substrates are present (Longley and Hildebrand 1941; Springer and
Bullis 1956; Springer and Woodburn 1960; Bullis and Thompson 1965;
Moe et al. 1966; Cashman 1973; Smith et al. 1975). It has also been
recorded inshore at localities throughout the Gulf of Mexico
(Baughman 1947, 1950b; Hildebrand 1955; Collins and Smith 1959;
Miller 1965; Haburay et al. 1969).
Chaetodon sedentarius Poey, REEF BUTTERFLYFISH.-The reef but-
terflyfish was not recorded at East Pass during this study and only
once at the St. Andrew jetties. One juvenile (43.5 mm SL) was col-
lected at a depth of 9 m on the channel side of the west jetty on 21 May
1970. None was observed on the natural reefs offshore, but a few were
seen below the Stage I platform at a depth of 32 m off Panama City.
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 55
Chaetodon sedentarius is normally found in deeper water than the
other western Atlantic species of Chaetodon (except for C. aya) (Ran-
dall 1968), and has been recorded only rarely in shallow water in the
Gulf of Mexico (Collins and Smith 1959; Briggs et al. 1964). It may be
common in offshore reef areas on the continental shelf of North
America, including the Gulf of Mexico (Springer and Bullis 1956;
Briggs et al. 1964; Bullis and Thompson 1965; Moe et al. 1966; Causey
1969; Struhsaker 1969; Powell et al. 1972), but only rarely strays in-
Chaetodon striatus Linnaeus, BANDED BUTTERFLYFISH.-One
banded butterflyfish (about 60 mm SL) was seen at the East Pass jet-
ties on 14 September 1970. Caldwell (1959) reported three specimens
(33, 35, and 39 mm SL) collected in June, 1958, near Destin but did not
give the exact location of their capture. Small numbers were also
recorded at the St. Andrew jetties. Single juveniles were observed in
May, 1966, October, 1969, and July and October, 1971. Caldwell and
Briggs (1957) reported sighting one adult there in November, 1958,
and collected small individuals in June (35.7 mm SL), August (52.5 and
53.8 mm), and September (61.4 mm), 1959. Bullis and Thompson (1965)
listed one collection of C. striatus from offshore of St. Andrew Bay
(R/V Silver Bay Station 110- 29043'N, 85059'W; 28 July 1957, depth,
34-41 m). Haburay et al. (1969) reported collecting specimens near Pen-
sacola in May (28 mm) and in August (69.3 mm), 1967. Smith (1975,
1976) collected specimens at depths of 12-20 m off Sarasota for several
months following the 1971 "red tide" but had not recorded the species
prior to that time. The species is apparently uncommon in the western
Gulf of Mexico (Sonnier et al. 1976) and occurs in the eastern gulf only
as a straggler.
POMACANTHIDAE (AFTER FEDDERN 1972 AND BURGESS 1974)
Holacanthus bermudensis Goode, BLUE ANGELFISH (CHART 50).-
Juvenile blue angelfish (89-134 mm SL) were observed in deeper water
at the seaward ends of the East Pass jetties from August to
November, 1969, and one was recorded during August, 1970.
The species was more often seen at the St. Andrew jetties, but only
in the deeper water on the channel side of the jetties or near the
submerged bulkhead in the channel. Adults were present during all
seasons, including the winter (January and February) at temperatures
as low as 130C. Records of H. ciliaris, the queen angelfish, at the St.
Andrew jetties (Caldwell and Briggs 1957; Allison 1961) are apparent-
ly referable to H. bermudensis, although one specimen in the Universi-
ty of Florida collection (UF 5694) may be a hybrid of the two, as
described by Feddern (1968) (Carter R. Gilbert, pers. comm.).
Blue angelfish were seen on nearly every dive on the natural reefs
56 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
offshore of Destin and Panama City and were also usually present
swimming about the pilings of the Navy platforms off Panama City.
The species is widely distributed in the Gulf of Mexico and along the
continental shelf of North America from North Carolina to Yucatan
(Springer and Hoese 1958; Springer and Woodburn 1960; Bullis and
Thompson 1965; Moe et al. 1966; Causey 1969; Struhsaker 1969;
Swingle 1971; Powell et al. 1972; Cashman 1973; Smith et al. 1975). It
is apparently more tolerant of temperate and subtropical temperatures
than generally supposed and is replaced in most insular coral reef
areas by H. ciliaris, which is rare or completely absent in most con-
tinental areas. Although occasionally reported from the northern Gulf
of Mexico (Springer and Bullis 1956; Springer and Woodburn 1960;
Bullis and Thompson 1965; Moe et al. 1966; Powell et al. 1972;
Cashman 1973; Smith et al. 1975; Sonnier et al. 1976), H. ciliaris was
not observed during this study. It is undoubtedly rare in the northern
gulf and any records in the area could be suspected of being misiden-
tifications of the more common H. bermudensis, or possibly hybrids
between the two (Feddern 1968). Environmental factors affecting the
distribution of the two species are not completely understood, but may
include temperature, salinity, water clarity, and bottom type, all of
which contrast to some extent between continental and insular areas
of the western Atlantic (Robins 1971).
Abudefduf saxatilis (Linnaeus), SERGEANT MAJOR (CHART 51).-
Juvenile sergeant majors were observed at East Pass only during 1970
and only in small numbers. Single individuals were seen on 9 July, 6
August, and 1 October; and three were seen on 1 December 1970. The
species was seen at the St. Andrew jetties only during 1971, when two
small individuals were seen on 24 July and one on 19 October 1971.
Caldwell and Briggs (1957) reported collecting one sergeant major (42
mm SL) at the St. Andrew jetties on 30 July 1956. Several were seen
near the pilings and cross-members of the Stage I platform off Panama
City during the summer and fall, but all were seen very near the water
surface. None was seen on the natural reefs off Destin and Panama
Abudefduf saxatilis has been recorded from various localities
throughout the Gulf of Mexico (Baughman 1950b; Gunter and Knapp
1951; Springer and Woodburn 1960; Dawson 1962; Richmond 1968;
Causey 1969; Haburay et al. 1969; Cashman 1973) but is rarely com-
mon in the northern portion and apparently is restricted to shallow
water areas. Even in tropical reef areas in the western Atlantic, where
the species is abundant, it rarely occurs at depths greater than 12 m,
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 57
and thus apparently cannot survive on the deeper water reefs of the
northern gulf. Those present in shallow waters of the northern gulf
most likely result from pelagic larvae carried north from the Carib-
bean. Floating Sargassum may be important in such dispersal of this
species (Dawson 1962; Fine 1970; Dooley 1972).
Abudefduf taurus (Muller and Troschel), NIGHT SERGEANT.-
Abudefduf taurus was not recorded during this study, but Allison
(1961) collected two juveniles (23.5 and 34.2 mm SL) at the St. Andrew
jetties on 27 June 1959. Apparently the only other record of this
species in the northern Gulf of Mexico is that of Brigge et al. (1964),
who reported two juveniles taken in July, 1963, at Port Aransas,
Texas. This species is also restricted to shallow water (Bohlke and
Chaplin 1968) and cannot survive on the deep water reefs of the Gulf of
Mexico. Individuals occurring in the northern gulf must be carried
there as pelagic larvae or juveniles and must rarely if ever survive the
low winter temperatures.
Pomacentrus fuscus (Cuvier), DUSKY DAMSELFISH.-Greenfield and
Woods (1974) and other recent authors have used the generic name
Eupomacentrus for this and the following two species, and also the
specific name dorsopunicans for the dusky damselfish. Nomenclature
used here follows Bailey et al. (1970) and Rivas (1960).
The dusky damselfish was not recorded at the East Pass jetties
during this study and only small numbers were recorded at the St. An-
drew jetties and only during the summers of 1967 and 1971. Several
juveniles were seen in June and August, 1967, and during July, 1971.
Two collected measured 35.6 and 37.7 mm SL. Other divers reported
seeing additional specimens at the St. Andrew jetties and also in the
Pensacola area in the summers of 1971 and 1972 (Haburay et al. 1974).
None was recorded between 1967 and 1971, despite numerous observa-
tions at the St. Andrew and East Pass jetties. The East Pass jetties
were not studied during 1971 so the species may have been present
there that year. Robert L. Shipp (pers. comm.), who had collected
fishes at the St. Andrew jetties for several years prior to this study,
commented that small numbers of juvenile P. fuscus were observed
periodically at the jetties.
The dusky damselfish has only rarely been reported from the north-
ern gulf (Dawson 1962; Briggs et al. 1964; Haburay et al. 1974), but
Causey (1969) reported the species as a benthicc resident" at Seven
and One-Half Fathom Reef (13.5 m) off Padre Island, Texas. It is one
of the most common pomacentrids in inshore waters of the Caribbean
Sea (Cervigon 1966; Randall 1968) and also on Campeche Bank and at
Blanquilla Reef on the coast of Mexico (Hildebrand et al. 1964; Chavez
1966). It is a shallow water species most often found at depths less
58 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
than 6 m, and always less than 15 m (B6hlke and Chaplin 1968; Emery
1973). Thus, the species is apparently unable to survive on the deep-
water (over 18 m) natural reefs off northwest Florida, and the occa-
sional strays that are carried northward by currents must be killed by
the low winter temperatures in shallow inshore waters.
Pomancentrus partitus (Poey), BICOLOR DAMSELFISH.-One
juvenile bicolor damselfish was recorded at the East Pass jetties in
this study (21.5 mm SL-collected 6 August 1970), and the species was
recorded only in 1967 and 1971 at the St. Andrew jetties. One juvenile
(28.0 mm SL) was collected there on 12 September 1967 and several
were observed in July, August, and October, 1971. Four collected on
24 July 1971 measured 29.8, 32.9, 34.5, and 34.5 mm SL and three col-
lected on 19 October 1971 were 43.9, 50.4, and 53.4 mm SL. Juveniles
were occasionally seen swimming about the pilings near the surface at
the Stage I platform off St. Andrew Bay but none was recorded on the
natural reefs. Haburay et al. (1974) reported collecting this species in
the Pensacola area in 1971.
Pomancentrus partitus is apparently not common on most reefs of
the Gulf of Mexico north of the Florida Keys but is present on some
reefs where conditions are favorable. It is common on the Florida Mid-
dle Ground reef (Smith et al. 1975) and also on the Flower Garden
Reefs of Texas (Cashman 1973). Smith (1975, 1976) found it at depths
from 12 to 36 m off Tampa Bay during the summer of 1972 following a
severe "red-tide" the previous year, but suggested that it was more
typical of the deeper reefs of the West Florida Shelf. Factors prevent-
ing its establishment on most reefs of the northern gulf are unknown
but are probably in some way related to temperature. Possibly it can-
not survive the low winter temperatures on the deep water reefs even
though it can inhabit such depths in more tropical areas (Emery 1973;
a few meters to 45 m). A unique combination of environmental condi-
tions apparently allows the bicolor damselfish to occur at the Florida
Middle Ground reef (Smith et al. 1975) and this may also be the case at
the Flower Garden Reefs off Texas. Bohlke and Chaplin (1968) cited a
record of this species being collected at "200 to 210 fathoms off Puerto
Rico," apparently referring to Bullis and Thompson (1965), who listed
the foregoing data for R/V Oregon Station 2630. Collection data for
this station were incorrectly transcribed and Oregon Station 2630 was
actually off the Leeward Islands at a depth of 19 fathoms (34.2 m).
Pomacentrus variabilis (Castelnau), COCOA DAMSELFISH (CHART
52).-The cocoa damselfish was rare at the East Pass jetties in 1968,
when only four individuals were recorded. One juvenile (10.0 mm SL)
was collected in September, one small adult was seen in October, and
one juvenile and one adult were recorded in November. No others were
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 59
seen until June, 1969, when two small juveniles (10.3 and 12.4 mm SL)
were collected. Subsequently the species was recorded on every dive
through November 1969. In 1970 the same pattern of occurrence was
observed, although the species did not appear as early in the year.
None was recorded during June and only one small juvenile was seen
in July. Several small adults were observed on most dives through
November and two were seen on 1 December 1970 at the south end of
the west jetty at a temperature of 190C. All of the cocoa damselfish
observed at the jetties apparently belonged to the first year spawning
class since there was a gradual increase in size noticed for the fishes in
the population (see Beecher 1973), although small juveniles (less than
20 mm) were also seen in August. No spawning was observed at the
East Pass jetties, but Caldwell (1963) noted eight specimens (40-100
mm SL) collected in the Ft. Walton Beach area. He failed to give the
exact location or date of capture.
Pomacentrus variabilis is a common fish at the St. Andrew jetties,
and was considerably more numerous there than at East Pass. It was
present from about late March or April (at temperatures about 20C)
through about November or December. Most began to disappear in
November when the temperature dropped to about 200C, but some
were usually present through December at temperatures as low as
16C. Large adults were common at the jetties early in the spring, in-
dicating that they had spent the winter in deeper water where
temperatures are more moderate, and then returned inshore as the
water warmed in the spring. Small juveniles were observed as early as
13 April, but in most years, no juveniles less than 20 mm SL were pres-
ent until May. During May large numbers of small juveniles appeared
on the jetties, undoubtedly from spawnings on the offshore reefs.
Adults that were already present on the jetties in May began to show
sexual differences in coloration, and spawning was observed on 21
May 1970. Young from these initial spawnings (or contemporary
spawnings by other populations) constitute the majority of the
damselfish population on the jetties through the summer and fall, and
a gradual increase in the mean size of the first year fish on the jetties
can be seen (Beecher 1973). However, a few small juveniles appear
through the summer and fall, indicating that some spawnings may
continue at least through August or September. Caldwell and Briggs
(1957) (and Caldwell 1959) collected specimens of this species as small
as 11 mm SL at the St. Andrew jetties in October, 1955 (51 individuals
measuring 11-59 mm).
Cocoa damselfish are common throughout the year on the natural
reefs off Destin and Panama City. The species is obviously a perma-
ment resident of these reefs. Unfortunately, observations on these
deep water populations were too limited to determine whether their
60 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
numbers increased substantially in winter as a result of offshore move-
ment of inshore populations.
The species is widely distributed in the Gulf of Mexico and should
be expected wherever rocky substrate is available (Springer and Wood-
burn 1960; Yerger 1961; Briggs et al. 1964; Hildebrand et al. 1964;
Causey 1969; Haburay et al. 1969; Cashman 1973; Smith et al. 1975;
Smith 1976). A number of references citing Pomacentrus leucostictus
in the northern Gulf of Mexico are apparently misidentifications. Jor-
dan and Swain (1885) recorded a specimen (as Pomacentrus caudalis)
from the stomach of a snapper collected off Pensacola. Jordan and
Evermann (1898) subsequently reidentified this specimen as
Eupomacentrus leucostictus, but their mention of "a jet-black, ink-like
spot, ocellated with blue on the back of the tail" clearly indicates that
this fish was not leucostictus but most likely P. variabilis. Rivas (1960)
noted that the type collection of P. caudalis included six P. leucostic-
tus and one specimen that was probably P. variabilis. Three specimens
reported from Clearwater Harbor and identified as E. leucostictus by
Goode and Bean (1880) were also noted as having black ocelli on the
tail and are probably P. variabilis. Nahhas and Powell (1971) described
a new species of digenetic trematode from damselfishes collected at
Panama City, Florida. Although the host fish were identified as E.
leucostictus, they were undoubtedly P. variabilis. Springer and Hoese
(1958) recorded one specimen (71 mm SL), which was identified by H.
H. Hildebrand as P. leucostictus, collected on 28 March 1954, at a
depth of 21 m SE of Pass Cavallo, Matagorda Bay, Texas. In view of
the absence of other records of leucostictus in the northern gulf and
the late winter collection date of this large adult specimen, it seems
probable that this specimen also is P. variabilis.
The absence of P. leucostictus as a straggler in the northeastern
gulf is strange, as it is said to stray north to New England on the
Atlantic coast. Struhsaker (1969) found it common on the continental
shelf of the southeastern United States from Florida north to North
Carolina. In contrast P. variabilis has not been recorded on the Atlan-
tic coast north of Florida (B6hlke and Chaplin 1968). Emery (1973)
noted that P. variabilis might be responsible for the northerly records
of P. leucostictus, which is reportedly rare at depths greater than 7.5
m. Pomacentrus variabilis was the most ubiquitous species studied by
Emery at Alligator Reef and is the species most tolerant of low
temperatures. Therefore, it should be expected to range farther north
than the other species of Pomacentrus.
Doratonotus megalepis Gunter, DWARF WRASSE.-Two Dora-
tonotus megalepis were recorded at the East Pass jetties in this study,
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 61
one specimen (50.5 mm SL) collected on 14 September 1970 and
another approximately the same size seen on 1 October 1970. Three
(34-46 mm SL) were collected with rotenone at the St. Andrew jetties
on 13 October 1970, and Allison (1961) collected five (28-45 mm SL)
there on 22 August 1959.
Apparently the species is rare in the northern Gulf of Mexico and
occurs only as a stray from more tropical waters. The only published
record of its occurrence in the northern gulf is a collection at R/V
Oregon Station 295 at a depth of 31 m off the coast of Louisiana on 4
May 1951 (Bullis and Thompson 1965).
Halichoeres bivittatus (Bloch), SLIPPERY DICK (CHART 53).-After
becoming established on the East Pass jetties, Halichoeres bivittatus
became the most numerous species present from about April through
November or December. On the first sighting at the jetties on 9 June
1968, one adult was seen. Later in June and July, several adults were
present and several juveniles about 25-50 mm SL were recorded. By
August adults had become common and large numbers of small
juveniles (less than 25 mm) were present. Subsequently the species
was common through November, but then disappeared and none was
seen until February.
In February, 1969, one juvenile was seen under the Highway 98
bridge, and two juveniles were seen on the west jetty at temperatures
of 14.5 and 15C. This species gradually became more numerous dur-
ing the next two months, and large adults were first recorded in April.
In May adults were again considered common, and late in May small
juveniles (less than 25 mm) were common, indicating that spawning
had occurred some time previously. By late June the species was abun-
dant and remained one of the dominant species on the jetties through
November when it again disappeared.
On 2 January 1970 adults were common in the deeper water at the
seaward end of the east jetty but were not seen on other parts of the
jetties. On 24 January two small adults were seen in shallow water on
the west jetty. No others were seen until April when both juveniles
and adults again became common. The species was considered abun-
dant from May through November, but it was still common on 1
December (at temperatures of 16-190C) and three adults were recorded
on 26 December at 140C. None was seen on a subsequent dive on 12
Counts made during 1970 of the number of Halichoeres bivittatus
in plots on the jetties emphasize the occurrence pattern of this species
(Tables 2-4). The species first appeared in the plots in April and
gradually increased in number through June. In July there was a pro-
nounced increase in the number of individuals, especially juveniles on
62 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
the channel side of the jetties, undoubtedly resulting from increased
spawning activity in May or June. Numbers were high through
December until the species was again absent on 12 January 1971.
Counts were usually higher on the channel side either because of the
greater water depth there or because of the greater protection from
surge. After the middle of November counts were higher for the gulf
side, probably because of the higher temperatures of the gulf water.
Halichoeres bivittatus was also a dominant species on the St. An-
drew jetties. It was always common or abundant from the last part of
March or April through November or December, but was never seen,
even in the deep water in the channel, in January and February.
Some H. bivittatus were seen on most dives on the offshore reefs,
and it is a characteristic and permanent member of the fauna on such
reefs. In most cases H. caudalis was more common offshore than was
H. bivittatus, although these two species are similar and could have
been confused at times. Smith (1976) made similar observations off
Tampa Bay, where H. bivittatus is common at depths from 12 to 24 m
and H. caudalis from 24 to 42 m. The inshore populations undoubtedly
move offshore to deeper water during the winter, but the location of
their winter habitat has not been definitely determined. Dives on the
offshore reefs were not numerous enough to indicate differences in
winter and summer populations. The occurrence of large numbers in
the deeper water at East Pass in January, 1970, could indicate that
schools move about considerably during the winter and may remain
close to shore.
Halichoeres bivattatus has been recorded from various locations in
the northern Gulf of Mexico (Reid 1954; Springer and Hoese 1958;
Causey 1969; Cashman 1973). Jordan and Gilbert (1883) described two
specimens from Laguna Grande near Pensacola as Platyglossus
florealis and Jordan and Gilbert (1884) and Jordan (1885) reported the
species (as Platyglossus radiatus and P. bivittatus) from the stomachs
of snappers and groupers taken off Pensacola.
Halichoeres caudalis (Poey), PAINTED WRASSE.-One juvenile
Halichoeres caudalis (100 mm SL) was collected on 19 October 1971 on
the channel side of the east St. Andrew jetty at a depth of about 4.5 m.
One adult Halichoeres that was apparently this species was seen near
the submerged bulkhead in the channel on 9 August 1971. None was
ever seen at the East Pass jetties. It could have been present in small
numbers on other occasions and been undetected because of the abun-
dance of H. bivittatus.
As noted above, H. caudalis is primarily an offshore species more
common at depths greater than about 24 m and is the common labrid
on the natural reefs of the northern gulf at moderate depths. It was
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 63
seen on nearly every dive made on the offshore reefs during this study
and was also usually present at the Navy platforms off Panama City.
It apparently occurs throughout the gulf where suitable rocky
substrate within its depth range is present (Randall and Bohlke 1965;
Richmond 1968; Springer and Bullis 1956; Swingle 1971). It has also
been recorded from the stomachs of snappers and groupers taken off
Pensacola and Tampa (Jordan and Gilbert 1883, 1884; Jordan 1885, as
Platyglossus caudalis; Jordan and Evermann 1898, as Iridio pictus).
Halichoeres radiatus (Linnaeus), PUDDINGWIFE.-The puddingwife
was not recorded at the East Pass jetties during this study but P. A.
Hastings and Bortone (1976) recorded the species there in August,
1974. Two juveniles were seen together at the St. Andrew jetties on 19
October 1971. One collected measured 86.3 mm SL. The species is rare
in the Gulf of Mexico (Randall and Bohlke 1965), although Richmond
(1968) reported it at Horn Island, Mississippi, and Cashman (1973)
reported two adults (337 and 384 mm SL) from the West Flower
Garden Reef off Texas.
Hemipteronotus novacula (Linnaeus), PEARLY RAZORFISH (CHART
54).-The pearly razorfish was occasionally seen near the East Pass
jetties but was usually present only in small numbers from about
August to November, although single small juveniles were collected in
1969 in March (64.7 mm SL) and in May (54.0 mm). In addition a large
adult (about 120 mm SL) was collected in shallow water in the lagoon
at East Pass in May, 1970. The species was less often recorded at the
St. Andrew jetties, but small numbers were noted in July and October,
and Allison (1961) collected the species at the jetties during August,
September, and October.
Pearly razorfish observed on the jetties usually were hovering near
jetty rocks or other objects on the bottom, and would dart into the
sand when approached. Thus the species showed some attraction to
the rocks on the jetties, but was considerably more common over san-
dy bottoms at depths of 18 m off Destin and Panama City. Here in-
dividuals constructed mounds of shell fragments above which they
hovered and into which they darted when threatened. Jordan and
others reported pearly razorfish from the stomachs of snappers and
groupers taken off Pensacola and Tampa (Jordan and Gilbert 1884;
Jordan 1885, 1888; Jordan and Evermann 1898; listed as Xyrichthys
jessiae, X. lineatus, X. psittacus, and Xyrula jessiae).
Lachnolaimus maximus (Walbaum), HoGFisH.-One hogfish was
recorded at the jetties during this study, an individual about 200 mm
SL seen at the St. Andrew jetties in May, 1968. The species is not com-
mon along the northwest Florida coast but occasional individuals are
seen on the offshore reefs. It is apparently common on offshore
64 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
reefs along the west Florida coast at least as far north as the Florida
Middle Ground (Springer and Woodburn 1960; Bullis and Thompson
1965; Smith et al. 1975; Smith 1976).
Thalassoma bifasciatum (Bloch), BLUEHEAD.-Single blueheads
(about 75 mm SL) were seen on the East Pass jetties on 22 October and
10 November 1970, and two small juveniles were seen there on 19
November 1970. The species was recorded with about the same fre-
quency at the St. Andrew jetties and was present there only in some
years. In 1967 juveniles and small adults were numerous during June
and August and adults were common in November. None was recorded
subsequently until 1970 when small numbers of juveniles were present
in July and several adults in October. Several juveniles were also seen
in July and October, 1971. Caldwell (1969) reported collecting one
bluehead at the St. Andrew jetties during the summer, 1958, and
Allison (1961) recorded several juveniles and adults there in July and
None was recorded on the natural reefs off northwest Florida,
although small numbers were seen on the pilings and cross members of
the Stage I platform off Panama City, always near the surface. None
was recorded on the reefs off Tampa Bay by Springer and Woodburn
(1960), but Smith (1976) recorded small numbers there at depths of
12-18 m and adults on the Florida Middle Ground reef at depths of
about 24 m (Smith et al. 1975). Cashman (1973) has also found the
bluehead common at the Flower Garden Reefs off Texas and Sonnier et
al. (1976) listed it as common on reefs off Louisiana. The bluehead is a
coral reef species that is abundant in the West Indies and Florida
Keys, and also on Campeche Bank (Hildebrand et al. 1964). Unique en-
vironmental conditions at the Florida Middle Ground and the Flower
Gardens allow permanent populations to exist, while in other parts of
the northern Gulf of Mexico the bluehead occurs only as a straggler.
The parrotfishes presented special problems during this study, as
juveniles of several similar species were present at the jetties and often
could not be identified in field observations. The species of the genus
Sparisoma were particularly difficult to identify in the field, and conse-
quently no occurrence charts for these are given, even though some
species, such as S. radians, were common at times as revealed by
rotenone collections. Most species were present only during the sum-
mer and fall. Nicholsina usta and Sparisoma radians were the species
most often recorded, but several other species were also consistently
Nicholsina usta (Valenciennes), EMERALD PARROTFISH (CHART
55).-The emerald parrotfish was present at the East Pass jetties
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 65
primarily from June to November. But in 1969 several juveniles were
present during February and March (at temperatures as low as 140C)
and several juveniles and adults were seen in May of that year. During
December, 1970, the species was still common, at a temperature of
13C, but none was seen on a subsequent dive in January, 1971. It was
also a common species at the St. Andrew jetties where it was present
from about late March or April to December. It may be more
numerous in grass bed areas, since Allison (1961) collected most of his
specimens from shore areas within the bay.
Nicholsina usta has been reported from several localities in the
northeastern Gulf of Mexico (Jordan 1887, 1891; Jordan and Ever-
mann 1898; Reid 1954; Springer and Bullis 1956; Springer and Wood-
burn 1960; Swingle 1971; Powell et al. 1972; Smith et al. 1975), but it
has never been reported either inshore or from the offshore reefs in the
northwestern gulf. Its occurrence pattern in the northern gulf is not
completely understood, although it is more widely distributed and
present for a greater part of the year than any other scarid. Some in-
dividuals must remain in the northern gulf through the winter, as ad-
vanced juveniles and adults (up to 130 mm SL) were observed inshore
early in the year. Permanent populations may exist on the offshore
reefs of the northern gulf, although none was observed offshore during
this study. This parrotfish is a continental resident and does not occur
in the coralline areas of the West Indies (Randall 1968).
Scarus coelestinus Valenciennes, MIDNIGHT PARROTFISH.-The
midnight parrotfish was not recorded at East Pass, but several
juveniles were seen at the St. Andrew jetties on 19 October 1971.
Three collected were 81.5-108.3 mm SL. Allison (1961) collected single
juveniles (which he identified as S. guacamaia) at the jetties on 25 Oc-
tober 1958 (84.6 mm) and 22 August 1959 (68.4 mm). The life color of
the fish observed in 1971 was uniform blue with no distinctive mark-
ings noted. In preservative the fish were dark bluish gray with a nar-
row pale band on the chin. Allison's specimens are uniform brown with
a light band on the chin. This is another species that occurs in the
northern Gulf of Mexico only as a straggler.
Scarus croicensis Bloch, STRIPED PARROTFISH (CHART 56).-The
striped parrotfish was recorded at the East Pass jetties during 1968
and 1970 but always on the basis of just a few juveniles. One (about 75
mm SL) was seen in August, 1968, and about four (one measured 53.7
mm) were seen during September, 1968. Several were also seen in
November. No others were seen until July, 1970, when one juvenile
was seen on two separate dates. It was recorded at the St. Andrew jet-
ties in August, 1967 (2 specimens 18.0 and 19.6 mm), October, 1968 (2
specimens-56.4 and 64.3 mm), and in August and October, 1971,
66 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
when it was common. Twenty-one collected with rotenone in October
measured 34.2-80.6 mm SL (mean-58.0 mm). Allison (1961) collected
five (16.0-42.0 mm) there in July, 1959.
Apparently Scarus croicensis is not a permanent resident in most
of the northern gulf but a straggler from more tropical areas. Schultz
(1958) listed the type locality of S. bollmani and S. evermanni (=S.
croicensis) as the snapper banks off Pensacola, but actually the type
specimens of these two nominal species came from the stomachs of
Epinephelus morio from off Tampa Bay (Jordan and Evermann 1887,
1898). Smith (1975, 1976) recorded it at depths of 12-36 m off Tampa
Bay, and it is quite common on the Florida Middle Ground reefs
(Smith et al. 1975). It is rare in other parts of the northern gulf.
Sparisoma aurofrenatum Valenciennes, REDBAND PARROTFISH.-
One juvenile (83.4 mm SL) of this species was collected at the St. An-
drew jetties 19 October 1971. It is rare in the northern gulf, although
Smith et al. (1975) reported it at the Florida Middle Ground, and
Cashman (1973) reported two juveniles collected at the West Flower
Garden reef off Texas.
Sparisoma chrysopterum (Bloch and Schneider), REDTAIL PARROT-
FISH.-One juvenile redtail parrotfish (82.5 mm SL) was collected at
the East Pass jetties on 26 October 1970. Four (39.5, 51.8, 53.4, and
135.5 mm) were collected at the St. Andrew jetties on 13 October 1970.
Allison (1961) collected 13 juveniles (28.6-83.5 mm) at the jetties on 25
October 1958 and two (44.0-48.6 mm) on 22 July 1959. He also col-
lected three other juveniles (49.5, 49.6, and 65.7 mm) within St. An-
drew Bay in July, 1959. One additional specimen (70.6 mm) in the
Florida State University fish collection was taken at the St. Andrew
jetties on 11 October 1958. Obviously this parrotfish is present in the
northern gulf irregularly and is a straggler from more tropical regions.
Sparisoma radians (Valenciennes), BUCKTOOTH PARROTFISH.-This
parrotfish was recorded at the East Pass jetties only in 1970 when it
was present from July to December. It was collected on 9 July (2
specimens-31.6 and 58.4 mm SL), 14 September (one-104.0 mm),
and on 26 October (2 specimens-44.8 and 102.0 mm). It was recorded
at the St. Andrew jetties in every year of the study and was usually
present from July to October. Allison (1961) collected 116 specimens
at the St. Andrew jetties from June to October during 1958 and 1959
and believed that it was the most common parrotfish in the St. An-
drew Bay area. My observations indicate that Nicholsina usta is usual-
ly more numerous.
Although occasionally common at St. Andrew Bay, Sparisoma ra-
dians may not be a permanent resident of the northern Gulf of Mexico,
as those collected early in the year (June) were small individuals (less
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 67
than 60 mm SL). It is apparently never recorded in most coastal areas
of the northern gulf. Smith et al. (1975) reported it as rare at the
Florida Middle Ground. The author collected three (43.3, 94.0, and
102.6 mm SL) in grass beds at the mouth of Alligator Harbor, Florida,
in October, 1970, along with several Nicholsina usta and Sparisoma
rubripinne. These were the first scarids collected in that area, despite
extensive collecting by personnel from Florida State University since
1949. It is also rare in the northwestern gulf (Leary 1956; Springer and
Sparisoma rubripinne (Valenciennes), REDFIN PARROTFISH.-One
juvenile Sparisoma rubripinne (45.9 mm SL) was collected at the East
Pass jetties in July, 1970, and three (58.2, 79.0, 129.2 mm) were col-
lected there in October, 1970. The species was collected once at the St.
Andrew jetties in this study, in October, 1970, when four juveniles
(47.4-56.6 mm) and three adults (102.2-128.4 mm) were collected with
rotenone. Allison (1961) collected one (37.6 mm) in October, 1958, and
several in July, August, and September, 1959 (14 specimens,
35.5-108.9 mm SL). As noted above, the species was also recorded at
Alligator Harbor, Florida, in October, 1970. The absence of published
records of this species in the northern Gulf of Mexico indicates that it
is a straggler from more tropical areas where it is common (Randall
1968). Its occurrence at three separate locations (East Pass, St. An-
drew Bay, and Alligator Harbor) in 1970 indicates that a large number
of larvae must have been carried into the northern gulf that year.
Sparisoma viride (Bonateere), STOPLIGHT PARROTFISH.-One
juvenile of this species (34.1 mm SL) was collected at the St. Andrew
jetties on 23 October 1969. Allison (1961) also collected one juvenile
(47.6 mm) there on 22 July 1959 but listed it as S. abildgaardi. No
other records are known in the eastern Gulf of Mexico north of the Tor-
tugas, so the species must be rare in the areas, despite the distribution
("including the Gulf of Mexico") given by Bohlke and Chaplin (1969).
Cashman (1973) reported one specimen (92 mm SL) collected at the
West Flower Garden reef off Texas and noted several sight records of
adults there. Permanent populations may exist there, but it appears to
be a straggler in other parts of the northern gulf.
Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, STRIPED MULLET (CHART 57).-The
striped mullet was present irregularly at the East Pass jetties, but was
nearly always present within the lagoons on each side of the pass.
Most adults apparently leave the area during the winter but some may
remain inshore throughout the year. They apparently move offshore in
the fall to spawn (Gunter 1945; Anderson 1958; Arnold and Thompson
1958), and then small juveniles move inshore from about November to
68 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
January. Juveniles less than about 25 mm SL were recorded at East
Pass in December, February, and March. Adults were usually not com-
mon during December, but large dense schools of adults, which were
possibly congregating to spawn, were seen at the jetties in December,
The species was recorded at the St. Andrew jetties most of the
year, but adults were most numerous from about April through
December. Small juveniles were most common in December.
The striped mullet is an abundant, free-swimming fish in the
coastal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Those seen at the jetties
were usually swimming in open water some distance from the jetties.
However, individuals were occasionally seen feeding by scraping
material from the jetty rocks.
Mugil curema Valenciennes, WHITE MULLET (CHART 58).-The
white mullet was occasionally common at the East Pass jetties, but
was recorded only irregularly in 1968 and 1969 and was not seen dur-
ing 1970. It was recorded from July to October in 1968 and from May
to August in 1969. Small juveniles were collected in May, June, and
July. At the St. Andrew jetties, the white mullet was recorded infre-
quently between April and August. It is uncommon in most of the
northern Gulf of Mexico, and only juveniles are commonly recorded in
most places (Gunter 1945; Springer and Woodburn 1960), although in
some years it may become quite numerous in the northern gulf (Moore
Sphyraena barracuda (Walbaum), GREAT BARRACUDA.-A single
great barracuda (about one m SL) was seen at the south end of the west
jetty at East Pass on successive dives on 6 and 24 August 1970. One
juvenile (27.5 mm SL) was collected at the St. Andrew jetties on 11
August 1967 and one adult (about one m SL) was seen in July 1970 at a
wreck off the beach about 100 m west of the jetties. No others were
recorded at the jetties during this study, but other divers have
reported seeing the species there.
Barracuda were quite numerous during the warmer months under
the Stage I and II platforms off Panama City, and some were usually
present at Stage I through the winter (Hastings et al. 1976). The
species was never seen on the natural reefs during this study, or in that
of Springer and Woodburn (1960:99).
Sphyraena borealis DeKay, NORTHERN SENNET (CHART 59).-
Juveniles were common at the East Pass jetties in the first observa-
tion of this study (9 June 1968) but were not seen subsequently during
1968. Small numbers of juveniles (41.4-54.5 mm SL) were recorded be-
tween March and July, 1969, and two about 150 mm SL were seen in
Vol. 24, No. I
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 69
July. During 1970, juveniles (about 20-50 mm SL) were present from
April through June, and large schools of adults (one measured 245 mm
SL) were present in August and September at the seaward ends of
both jetties. Juveniles (five collected were 39.4-79.0 mm SL) were
recorded at the St. Andrew jetties during April and May of 1968, 1970,
and 1971. Allison (1961) collected juveniles there in July and August,
1969. The species was not recorded on the offshore reefs during this
Blennius marmoreus Poey, SEAWEED BLENNY (CHART 60).-The
seaweed blenny was not recorded at the East Pass jetties during 1968
and only one (67.6 mm SL) was seen in 1969 (on 3 November at a
temperature of 24C). In 1970 the species was present from June
through November and was common during September and October.
Only one adult was seen in late November and none was recorded
subsequently. The species was recorded from late April to December
at the St. Andrew jetties and was usually common during the summer
and fall. Adults were present in April and May, indicating that some
may remain on the jetties through the winter. Blennies are rather
sedentary fish and seasonal migratory movement between the offshore
reefs and the jetties seems improbable.
This is the common blenny on the natural reefs off northwest
Florida, where it is a permanent resident and common through the
winter. Jordan and Gilbert (1883) reported specimens (as Blennius
stearnsi) from the stomachs of snappers taken off Pensacola. It is ap-
parently widely distributed in the Gulf of Mexico (Briggs et al. 1964;
Moe and Martin 1965; Causey 1969; Powell et al. 1972), and may be
restricted only by the presence of suitable rocky habitat.
Hypleurochilus bermudensis Beebe and Tee-Van, BARRED
BLENNY.-One small adult of this species (27.0 mm SL) was collected
on 18 May 1971 at the St. Andrew jetties. This is apparently only the
second specimen collected in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Randall
(1966) reported one specimen (22.2 mm SL) collected at the "jetties at
Panama City" in October, 1956, by the staff of the Gulfarium at Ft.
Walton Beach. One other individual, which was probably this species
based upon its distinctive color pattern), was seen at the St. Andrew
jetties on 10 May 1968. Cashman (1973) reported one specimen col-
lected at the West Flower Garden Reef off Texas.
The species is apparently rare in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is also
uncommon over its entire range (Randall 1966), and its benthic habits
and association with rocky substrates may have prevented its collec-
70 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Hypleurochilus geminatus (Wood), CRESTED BLENNY (CHART
61).-The crested blenny was one of the most common species on the
East Pass jetties during this study, and was the third most numerous
species counted in 1970 (Tables 2-4). In the first dive on the jetties on 9
June 1968, only one adult was seen, but on the next dive on 27 June,
juveniles and small adults were common. Subsequently the species
was listed as either common or abundant from April through October
and some were usually seen in other months. Some movement to deep
water in the winter may occur, but many apparently remain on the jet-
ties through the winter and become inactive. Moderate numbers were
collected with rotenone in the winter and some could usually be re-
vealed by turning over rocks, even when superficial examination failed
to reveal the species.
The crested blenny was also a common species at the St. Andrew
jetties, but it was less numerous than at East Pass. Rotenone collec-
tions at East Pass in September and October usually yielded several
hundred specimens, while similar operations at the St. Andrew jetties
netted less than a hundred. The species was present throughout the
year, but was less numerous during the winter. As noted for East
Pass, large numbers were observed early in the spring so the apparent
scarcity of crested blennies during the colder months may result from
inactivity and concealment of these cryptic fishes.
Although usually present on the pilings of the platforms off
Panama City, this blenny was not observed on the natural reefs off-
shore during this study, but it might be expected in such habitats.
Springer and Woodburn (1960) and Clark (1959) recorded the species
on reefs off Tampa Bay and Causey (1969) recorded it on a reef off
Texas. Most records, however, have been from shallow water where
the species is said to inhabit wharf and bridge pilings and rocks of
breakwaters (Hildebrand and Cable 1938). Jordan and Evermann
(1898) described it as "abundant in empty shells and clusters of
tunicates," but it seems to be especially adaptable to artificial reef
habitats. Its abundance in areas such as East Pass and St. Andrew
Bay has been greatly increased by the construction of such habitats. It
probably provides an important source of food to larger piscivorous
fishes that also inhabit these artificial reefs.
Hypsoblennius bentzi (Lesueur), FEATHER BLENNY (CHART
62).-Small numbers of adult Hypsoblennius bentzi were recorded at
the East Pass jetties. The species was present early in the study (July,
1968) but never became established as an important part of the fauna.
Four specimens collected were 38.0, 50.2, 77.5, and 82.8 mm SL. Three
were collected at the St. Andrew jetties: two on 10 May 1968 (63.3 and
78.9 mm) and one on 21 May 1970 (66.8 mm). The absence of juveniles
on the jetties, even in rotenone collections, indicates that those present
arrived as adults, possibly as strays from other habitats.
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 71
Bathygobius soporator (Valenciennes), FRILLFIN GOBY (CHART
63).-The frillfin goby was not recorded at East Pass during 1968, but
in 1969 one adult (52.4 mm SL) was collected on 14 November and two
adults were seen on 12 December. It was present from July to
November 1970 and was more numerous but never common. Except
for one juvenile (11.5 mm SL) collected in July, those seen in 1970 were
all adults (32.2-53.7 mm). The maximum number seen on any date was
five, recorded on 5 September 1970. The species was not recorded at
the St. Andrew jetties during this study and Allison (1961) failed to
collect it in St. Andrew Bay.
Coryphopterus punctipectophorus Springer, SPOTTED GOBY.-A
single adult spotted goby was collected at the St. Andrew jetties on 24
October 1972 by Ralph W. Yerger. The species is quite common on the
natural reefs offshore of northwest Florida but rarely appears inshore.
Causey (1969) also recorded it on a reef off the Texas coast.
Gobionellus boleosoma (Jordan and Gilbert), DARTER GOBY (CHART
64).-Single adult darter gobies were collected at the East Pass jetties
on 31 March (23.8 mm SL) and 23 July 1970 (25.5 mm). In addition
small prejuveniles that were tentatively identified as this species were
collected on 27 February 1970 (9.3 mm), 23 July 1970 (8.0 mm), and 21
November 1970 (9.2 and 9.5 mm). Meristics used to identify these also
fit Evorthodus lyrics, but this species was never recorded on the jet-
ties, although one adult was collected in the west lagoon at East Pass
in September, 1970. The prejuveniles also had a single distinct pig-
ment spot on the ventral side of the caudal peduncle. Gobionellus
boleosoma was usually common in the west lagoon, but records from
that location are not shown in Chart 64. Single adults were collected at
the St. Andrew jetties in October, 1969 and 1970.
Gobiosoma longipala Ginsburg, TWOSCALE GOBY (CHART
65).-Gobiosoma longipala was occasionally common at the East Pass
jetties, but it is small and secretive, usually remaining hidden in
depressions under rocks or other objects, so it may have been more
numerous than the records in Chart 65 indicate. It is a permanent resi-
dent of the deeper waters in the channel at East Pass (where 4 adults
were collected in February, 1969) and was also recorded in the lagoons
on the east side of the pass. These records and its occurrence at the jet-
ties as early as June, 1968, indicate that it was already a characteristic
member of the East Pass fauna prior to the construction of the jetties.
The jetties have apparently increased the suitable habitat for the
species, and thus may have increased its numbers at East Pass. Single
adults were collected on 23 October 1969 and on 4 April 1970 at the St.
72 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Acanthurus chirurgus (Bloch), DOCTORFISH (CHART 66).-Acan-
thurus chirurgus was present at the East Pass jetties from July
through November in 1968, from May through November in 1969, and
from August through December in 1970. It was common during most
of this time, but only two juveniles were present in May, 1969, and in
December, 1970, several juveniles and adults were present on the first
and only one individual (75.3 mm SL) was seen on the 26th. The water
temperature on the latter date was 130C. The species was first record-
ed inshore at temperatures of 280C (July, 1968), 260C (May, 1969), and
31C (August, 1970), so apparently the inshore movement of these fish
lags behind the warming of inshore waters to temperatures suitable
for the species. However, the early arrival of doctorfish at the jetties in
1969 may have resulted from the rather mild temperatures during the
winter of 1968-69. Possibly the distance that such fish move offshore
is determined by temperature. The milder temperatures may have
caused them to move only a short distance offshore, and they required
a shorter time to make the migration back inshore in the spring.
Temperatures in the fall when the species was last considered common
were 24C (November, 1968 and 1969) and 22C (November, 1970).
Acanthurus chirurgus was recorded at the St. Andrew jetties from
May through December, but the greatest numbers were seen from
about June or July through October and November. The species was
also recorded there by Allison (1961) and Caldwell and Briggs (1957).
No acanthurids were seen on the offshore reefs during this study,
but the reefs that were observed were devoid of extensive plant growth
that could support surgeonfishes. Acanthurus chirurgus (as well as A.
randalli) are permanent residents of the northern Gulf of Mexico (since
advanced juveniles and adults occur inshore early in the summer) so
some of the offshore reefs must be suitable habitat. The species is
widely distributed in the gulf but has not been collected often (Briggs
et al. 1964; Haburay et al. 1969; Smith et al. 1975; Sonnier et al. 1976).
Acanthurus coeruleus Bloch and Schneider, BLUE TANG (CHART
67).-Acanthurus coeruleus was recorded at the East Pass jetties from
August to November 1969, but usually only one or two individuals
were seen in a single day. One was seen on 1 October 1970. Two were
seen on 23 October 1969 and also on 13 October 1970 at the St. An-
drew jetties. Caldwell and Briggs (1957) collected one (56 mm SL) there
on 30 July 1956 and Allison (1961) collected one on 22 July 1959 and
two on 22 August 1959. Most of those recorded during this study were
juveniles (in the bright yellow phase), but a few in the blue phase and
possibly approaching adulthood were seen in October and November,
1959. This is the least common of the three species of surgeonfishes in
the northern Gulf of Mexico and is not a permanent resident. It is car-
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 73
ried into the northern gulf in its pelagic "acronurus" larval stage.
Springer and Woodburn (1960) also reported juveniles off Tampa Bay
at depths of 12-18 m from September through December, but it is ap-
parently rare in that area (Smith 1976). Those recorded may also be
strays from more southern areas. Cashman (1973) reported two adults
(135 and 143 mm SL) from the West Flower Garden Reef off Texas so
the species could be a permanent resident at that unique locality.
Acanthurus randalli Briggs and Caldwell, GULF SURGEONFISH
(CHART 68).-The occurrence of Acanthurus randalli at East Pass was
quite similar to that of A. chirurgus and the two species commonly
schooled together. Both species were most numerous from August to
November, but both arrived early (in May) in 1969 and remained
through December in 1970. Acanthurus randalli was generally less
numerous than A. chirurgus. One small juvenile A. randalli was record-
ed in May, 1970, but no others were seen until August. The species was
also recorded at the St. Andrew jetties from May to December, but it
was most common from July or August through October. Allison
(1961) collected it from May to October in 1958 and 1959 and found it
more numerous than A. chirurgus. He collected 45 A. randalli and only
18 A. chirurgus. Briggs and Caldwell (1957) (also Caldwell and Briggs
1957) had more A. randalli (18) than chirurgus (5) in one collection
taken in July, 1956.
Acanthurus randalli may be endemic to the northeastern Gulf of
Mexico (Briggs and Caldwell 1957), but its occurrence pattern on the
natural reef habitats of the area is not known. It was not observed on
the offshore reefs during this study, but permanent populations must
exist on some of the deeper water reefs, possibly at depths greater
than those studied during this project. Caldwell (1959) reported one
specimen from off Destin, Florida, and Moe et al. (1966) listed one
specimen taken in 1960 off Okaloosa County. They also listed a collec-
tion of A. bahianus (FSBC 1802) with the same data, but this collec-
tion was apparently taken in the Florida Keys (Powell et al. 1972).
C. Richard Robins (pers. comm.) has recently found that A randalli oc-
curs occasionally as far south as Dade County, Florida. However,
Gregory B. Smith (pers. comm.) failed to record either A. randalli or A.
bahianus off the west coast of peninsular Florida. Cashman (1973) and
Sonnier et al. (1976) noted sight records of A. bahianus at the reefs off
Texas and Louisiana and it seems possible that these could be A. ran-
dalli. Bullis and Thompson (1965) reported one collection of A. randalli
from Serrana Bank in the Caribbean Sea, but this is most likely a
Acanthurus randalli is a striking exception to the generalization
that species of surgeonfishes are relatively wide-ranging (B6hlke and
Chaplin 1968), as a result of the long pelagic stage, the "acronurus."
There must be some limit to the transport of A. bahianus into the
74 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
northern gulf and to the movement of A. randalli out of the gulf, but
such a situation does not seem plausible in view of the numerous other
species that are transported into this area.
Euthynnus alletteratus (Rafinesque), LITTLE TUNNY (CHART 69).-
Euthynnus alletteratus were recorded at the East Pass jetties primari-
ly from July through September, but several were also seen in June,
October, and December during 1970. Little tunny were recorded at the
St. Andrew jetties from May to December and were commonly caught
by anglers on the jetties. Groups were occasionally seen feeding on
bait fish schools near the jetties. The species is caught by sport
fishermen throughout the year offshore of northwest Florida but oc-
curs inshore only during the warmer months.
Scomberomorus maculatus (Mitchill), SPANISH MACKEREL (CHART
70).-The Spanish mackerel is common inshore along the northwest
Florida coast during the spring, summer, and fall, but its occurrence at
the East Pass jetties reveals an unusual pattern. It was not seen at the
jetties during 1968, and in 1969 it was observed only during April and
May when fairly large schools of adults were seen swimming near the
jetties. In 1970 the species was present during March, April, and May,
corresponding to the period when it was present in 1969, and during
September, October, and November, when large schools were again
seen near the jetties. The Spanish mackerel is a migratory species and
populations in the eastern Gulf of Mexico spend the winter in the area
around the Florida Keys, then migrate northward along the coast in
the spring (Klima 1959). The two periods of occurrence at East Pass
correspond to the times of its arrival in the spring and its departure in
the fall. After their arrival in the northern gulf, the schools of Spanish
mackerel become more scattered (Reid 1954) and may move into the
estuaries. The schools re-form in preparation for the southward migra-
tion in November or December. A similar pattern of occurrence was
observed in Caranx hippos, and possibly also Elops saurus, which have
similar migratory patterns.
Observations of the Spanish mackerel at the St. Andrew jetties
were less numerous but correspond to the pattern observed at East
Pass. In 1970 the species was common during April and May and one
was collected in December.
Peprilus burti Fowler, GULF BUTTERFISH (CHART 71).-The Gulf
butterfish was not recorded at the East Pass jetties during 1968 and
only once in 1969, when three adults were seen on 3 November near a
large school of Leiostomus xanthurus that were apparently spawning.
Vol. 24, No. I
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 75
Although the Peprilus remained near the school of Leiostomus, no
direct interaction was observed and the significance of the association
is not known. In 1970 groups of small juveniles were observed on four
occasions, in February, April, November, and December. Most were
seen associated with jellyfishes drifting near the jetties, but two seen
in December were associated with an isolated rock about 6 m from the
At the St. Andrew jetties, small juveniles were seen in May, 1970,
associated with a jellyfish, and small adults about 10 cm long were
seen in May, 1971, swimming with a school of Decapterus punctatus.
Juveniles were also seen associated with small jellyfish and
ctenophores near the water surface at Warsaw Hole off Panama City
in February and March, 1971.
Scorpaena brasiliensis Cuvier, BARBFISH (CHART 72).-The barb-
fish was recorded irregularly at the East Pass jetties, but its cryptic
coloration and habits often conceal it from detection, so it may have
been more numerous at times. One juvenile (94.3 mm SL) was collected
on 12 September 1968. The species was somewhat more numerous in
1969. Seven juveniles (26.8-47.5 mm SL) were collected with rotenone
on 1 March, one juvenile (45.6 mm) was collected on 10 July, and one
juvenile (36.7 mm) was collected on 11 September. Then on 27
September six large adults (155-200 mm SL) were seen in a small area
in the midpart of the west jetty on the gulf side. All were conspicuous-
ly resting on the surfaces of rocks, behavior atypical for this species.
The significance of this behavior is not known. One adult (200 mm) was
collected on 28 November. In 1970 one adult was seen on 1 October,
one juvenile (56.6 mm) on 26 October, and one adult on 9 November
1970. The species was recorded with about equal frequency between
April and October at the St. Andrew jetties. It was not seen on the off-
shore reefs during this study but it does occur there. Eschmeyer (1965)
listed several collections from offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
Paralichthys albigutta Jordan and Gilbert, GULF FLOUNDER
(CHART 73).-Single juvenile or small adult gulf flounders were record-
ed at the East Pass jetties in June, August, and September, 1968. The
species was recorded more frequently in 1969 from March through
November but only one or a few individuals were ever observed. Most
were juveniles or small adults. In 1970 the species was present from
May through November and large adults (up to 419 mm SL) were often
seen in September, October, and November. One larval Paralichthys
that was possibly this species was collected on 3 April 1970.
76 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Paralichthys albigutta was recorded at the St. Andrew jetties from
April through October. It is most common a short distance offshore in
the gulf and was often seen in the vicinity of the natural reefs. Spear
fishermen in the area take large numbers of large flounders throughout
the year. A large female (435 mm SL) was collected at Warsaw Hole off
St. Andrew Bay in February, 1971.
Paralichthys albigutta was the flounder most often observed in this
study and was the only species that was consistently present near the
jetties or offshore reefs. It shows some attraction to reef structures, as
individuals were occasionally seen among the jetty rocks or actually
on the surface of rocks.
Balistes capriscus Gmelin, GRAY TRIGGERFISH (CHART 74).-The
gray triggerfish was most numerous at the East Pass jettties in 1968,
and was present from the first observations in June through October.
It was considerably less numerous in 1969, when only one or two in-
dividuals were seen in May, August, September, and October. It was
not recorded at East Pass during 1970.
The species was often common at the St. Andrew jetties between
May and October, but the numbers present fluctuated considerably,
indicating that individuals were frequently moving into and out of the
area. Several were observed there in 1970, even though none was seen
at East Pass that year. One large adult was seen on the submerged
bulkhead in the St. Andrew channel on 30 January 1971 (temperature
13C), but no others were recorded inshore during the winter months.
Balistes capriscus was usually common and present throughout the
year near the offshore reefs. Large numbers were often seen swimming
in midwater and near the water surface above these reefs. The species
is widely distributed in the Gulf of Mexico and is occasionally taken in-
shore in most parts of the gulf.
Balistes vetula Linnaeus, QUEEN TRIGGERFISH.-One juvenile
Balistes vetula (112 mm SL) was collected on 9 August 1968 and one
individual (about 250 mm) was seen on 5 September 1970 at the East
Pass jetties. No others were seen during this study, either at the St.
Andrew jetties or on the offshore reefs. It is not common in the Gulf of
Mexico but has been collected at several localities; some may be pres-
ent throughout the year on the offshore reefs (Baughman 1950b;
Springer and Bullis 1956; Moseley 1966a; Cashman 1973). It is the
common triggerfish in the coral reef areas of the West Indies and oc-
curs only as a stray in the northern gulf.
Cantherhines pullus (Ranzani), ORANGESPOTTED FILEFISH (CHART
75).-Adult Cantherhines pullus (102-109 mm SL) were recorded at the
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 77
East Pass jetties from June through October, 1968, and from August
through October, 1970. None was seen during 1969. Usually only one
or two individuals were seen on one date, but several were present in
June and August, 1968, and in September, 1970. At the St. Andrew
jetties, two were collected in July, 1968, and one was seen in July,
1971. It was not recorded offshore during this study, but it has been
recorded occasionally offshore in the gulf (Berry and Vogele 1961;
Bullis and Thompson 1965; Cushman 1973). Dawson (1962) recorded
three juveniles dipnetted from floating Sargassum off the coast of
Mississippi in August and September. Baughman (1950b) listed one
specimen from off the coast of Texas, but Hoese (1958) indicated that
this identification was incorrect.
Monacanthus hispidus (Linnaeus), PLANEHEAD FILEFISH (CHART
76).-Juvenile Monacanthus hispidus (up to 120 mm SL) were present
at the East Pass jetties from June to September in 1968 and were con-
sidered common in July. The species was rare during 1969, but a few
were seen from July to October. It was considerably more numerous in
1970, was considered common during much of the period from June to
December, and was abundant in August. Small adults up to about 140
mm SL were observed from September to December. On 8 June 1970,
11 juveniles (9.2-11.9 mm) were collected under a paper cup drifting
near the south end of the west jetty, in company with two juvenile
Chloroscombrus chrysurus and two juvenile Trachurus lathami. On 21
November, five juveniles (10.0-12.4 mm) were collected as they drifted
at the water surface near the west jetty.
Juvenile or small adult Monacanthus hispidus were usually present
from about May through October on the St. Andrew jetties, and large
adults were often seen on the submerged bulkhead in the channel.
Several adults (two measured 191 and 209 mm SL) were seen there in
January, 1971, at a temperature of 13C.
Large adults were also seen at times near the natural offshore reefs
and also near the Navy platforms off Panama City. These offshore
reefs are the usual habitat of such large filefishes, which are rarely col-
lected inshore. In contrast, small juveniles are commonly collected in
inshore grassbed habitats. As individuals mature, they show more at-
traction to reef structures, and large adults may be restricted to such
Lactophrys quadricornis (Linnaeus), SCRAWLED COWFISH (CHART
77).-Tyler (1965a, b) used the family name Ostraciontidae and
recognized the genus Acanthostracion to classify the cowfishes as
distinct from the trunkfishes (Lactophrys). Terminology used here
follows Bailey et al. (1970).
78 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Cowfish were never common at the East Pass jetties, but one or a
few were recorded rather irregularly throughout most of the year.
Most were seen from August to November. Those seen on the jetties
were adults except for one juvenile (about 75 mm long) seen on 1
December 1970. The cowfish was recorded from March through
December on the St. Andrew jetties and usually only one or a few
adults were present. On 30 January 1971 one or two adults were seen
on the submerged bulkhead in the channel at the St. Andrew Pass
(temperature 13C). The species was recorded in the months of
January, February, May, and September on offshore reefs. It is pres-
ent in such areas throughout the year, but again only one or a few
adults were seen on any date.
Chilomycterus schoepfi (Walbaum) STRIPED BURRFISH (CHART
78).-Several adult Chilomycterus schoepfi were present at the East
Pass jetties at the time of the first dive in June, 1968, and the species
was present continuously through the first part of March, 1969. The
mild temperatures during the winter of 1968-69 may be correlated with
the occurrence of Chilomycterus inshore in that period. The species
was not seen from late March through early May and could have
moved offshore to spawn (Reid 1954; Springer and Woodburn 1960).
The species reappeared in May, 1969, and was present through the
first part of November. It was not observed during the winter of
1969-70 but was again present in late April, 1970, and subsequently
was recorded on almost every dive through the end of the year. In ad-
diton on 12 January 1971 many adults were present (42 were counted)
between Plot II and the south end of the jetty (temperature 13-14C).
The species was often recorded at the St. Andrew jetties between April
and December, and one adult was seen on the submerged bulkhead in
the channel in February, 1971. None was seen on the natural offshore
reefs during this study, but small numbers were occasionally seen near
the Navy platforms off St. Andrew Bay.
As indicated previously 204 species have been recorded at the two
jetties (Table 1): 143 species at the East Pass jetties and 180 species at
the St. Andrew jetties. This species list forms the basis for the follow-
ORIGIN OF THE JETTY FISH FAUNA
ORIGINAL RESIDENTS OF THE AREA
Although the coastal area at East Pass is a relatively unproductive
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 79
area biologically, a few species of fishes are characteristic of such
sandy beach environments, and many pelagic species frequent such
areas. In addition to these, many fishes that inhabit estuaries often
move through the pass and could be expected to be common at times
along the outer beach. Fishes of these three groups were already pres-
ent in the area prior to the construction of the jetties, but some exhibit
some attraction for reef structures and thus were the earliest col-
onizers of this new habitat.
Although not studied prior to jetty construction, the general
nature of this original fish fauna can be described on the basis of sand
beach studies in other areas of the gulf (Gunter 1959; Springer and
Woodburn 1960; McFarland 1963) and the subjective but usually
reliable observations of professional fishermen in the area. Numerical-
ly dominant species recorded by both Springer and Woodburn (1960)
and McFarland (1963) are Harengula pensacolae, Menidia beryllina,
Trachinotus carolinus, Leiostomus xanthurus, Menticirrhus littoralis,
Lagodon rhomboides, and Mugil cephalus. Of these, Harengula pen-
sacolae, Leiostomus xanthurus, and Lagodon rhomboides were abun-
dant at East Pass and were commonly seen on the East Pass jetties in
the earliest part of the study. In contrast, Menidia beryllina,
Trachinotus carolinus, and Mugil cephalus were also abundant at East
Pass but did not seem to be attracted to the jetties. Menticirrhus lit-
toralis and two other species considered abundant by Springer and
Woodburn (1960), Strongylura timucu and Trachinotus falcatus, were
not recorded at East Pass, although unidentified species of
Strongylura were occasionally seen near the jetties. Other dominant
species recorded by McFarland (1963) are Polydactylus octonemus,
Chloroscombrus chrysurus, and Conodon nobilis, which were either
rare or unrecorded at East Pass.
Of the other sand beach inhabitants listed in either or both of these
papers, Sardinella anchovia, Oligoplites saurus, Lutjanus griseus, Ar-
chosargus probatocephalus, Bairdiella chrysura, Chaetodipterus faber,
Scomberomorus maculatus, Paralichthys albigutta, and Chilo-
mycterus schoepfi were attracted to the jetty habitat and became more
numerous there than in surrounding waters. Other species recorded at
East Pass in the study but not attracted to the jetties were Dasyatis
sabina, Elops saurus, Brevoortia patrons, Synodus foetens, Arius
felis, Caranx hippos, Eucinostomus gula, Menticirrhus focaliger,
Mugil curema, Astroscopus y-graecum, Scomberomorus cavalla,
Prionotus tribulus, Aluterus schoepfi, and Sphoeroides nephelus.
Additional demersal species that were commonly seen at East Pass
early in the study and thus may have been original residents of the
area are Hemipteronotus novacula, Centropristis philadelphica,
80 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Diplectrum formosum, Serraniculus pumilio, and Gobiosoma
longipala. These fishes were associated with the jetties and may have
an affinity for reef structures, although they are also widely
distributed in sandy areas where shell hash and other objects provide
Several additional pelagic species not listed by Springer and Wood-
burn (1960) nor McFarland (1963) are characteristic of coastal areas of
northwest Florida and should also be considered as early colonizers of
the jetties. Some of these species may be more common along the
northwest Florida coast than in other coastal areas of the gulf because
of the clear, high-salinity, oceanic water characteristic of this area.
This group includes Anchoa lyolepis, Pomatomus saltatrix, Caranx
crysos, Decapterus punctatus, Kyphosus sectatrix, Sphyraena
borealis, and Euthynnus alleteratus. Of these, Caranx crysos,
Decapterus punctatus, and Kyphosus sectatrix were most attracted to
the reef structure and were common on the jetty early in the study.
Sphyraena borealis also was common at the time of the first observa-
tion on the jetties in June, 1968, but was not seen again during that
year. Balistes capriscus and Cantherhines pullus were also present ear-
ly in the study.
Four additional early colonizers, Orthopristis chrysoptera,
Nicholsina usta, Monacanthus hispidus, and Lactophrys quadricornis,
are common species in estuaries of the northwest Florida area, and are
most closely associated with grassbeds, although they also show some
attention to reef habitats. The jetties offered rich food supplies as well
as shelter for these species, and they soon became common at this new
The species discussed thus far were present at East Pass prior to
the construction of the jetties and thus are not dependent upon reef
habitats. Many of these are never associated with reef structures and
consequently have not been directly affected by the jetties. However,
some have shown an attraction to the jetties and have become quite
numerous there. The increased food supply present may have con-
tributed to an increase in the population size of some of these species
at East Pass.
REEF FISH COMPONENT
Another important group of colonizers are those typical of reef
habitats that arrived in the areas as pelagic eggs, larvae, or juveniles,
or as occasional stray adults from nearby reef habitats. The large
number of recruits of some of these species, as well as their consistent
seasonal occurrence, indicates that they are permanent residents of the
natural reefs offshore in the northern gulf. Direct observations on the
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 81
offshore reefs have confirmed this theory for some of the species. The
most important of these typical reef inhabitants are Halichoeres bivit-
tatus and Hypleurochilus geminatus. Both species were present dur-
ing the early part of the study, but in small numbers. A few adult
Halichoeres were seen during June, 1968, but the species was not com-
mon until after the appearance of numerous small juveniles in July and
August. Hypleurochilus geminatus was common in June and July,
1968, but only juveniles were present and adults had not colonized the
jetties. Subsequently, these two species became two of the three domi-
nant demersal fishes on the jetties. Additional residents of the off-
shore reefs that established populations at the jetties are Serranus
subligarius, Diplodus, holbrooki, Chaetodon ocellatus, Pomacentrus
variabilis, Acanthurus chirurgus, and Acanthurus randalli. In general,
these species did not become numerous until late in the summer or fall
(August to October) but eventually became important components of
the jetty fauna. Additional immigrants from these offshore reefs did
not become established in 1968 and are discussed in the section below
on successional changes.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF RECRUITMENT
Continued recruitment of new species to the jetties originated from
several sources. Common estuarine species occasionally stray into the
area, and many must necessarily pass the jetties during their fall ex-
odus from shallow water and in their spring immigration. A few
species such as Elops saurus, Caranx hippos, Oligoplites saurus, and
Scomberomorus maculatus were most numerous near the jetties in the
periods when they first arrived after their spring migrations into the
area, and again when they were forming schools to leave in the fall.
Other species present along the northwest Florida coast, both pelagic
and demersal, should be expected to occur occasionally near the
Occasional strays from the natural reefs offshore in deeper water
occur at times inshore. Examples of these are Gymnothorax nigro-
marginatus (or G. saxicola), Holocentrus ascensionis, Syngnathus
springeri, and Holacanthus bermudensis. Several additional species
were either rare or absent at East Pass but common at the St. Andrew
jetties, possibly because of the greater depths there.
Apparently many pelagic larvae of typical coral reef fishes are com-
monly carried to the jetty habitats by currents. The fact that these
species are almost never common and first appear in the spring or sum-
mer only as juveniles indicates that they are not permanent residents
of the northern gulf. Observations on the natural reefs offshore to
depths of about 30 m in this study have also failed to reveal these
species, even in the summer. Such recruitment of tropical species
82 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
occurs each year but may vary depending upon the strength and north-
ward penetration of the Loop Current or the average spring and sum-
mer temperatures in the northern gulf (Moore 1975). Some species that
were usually not common were recorded quite often: Chaetodon
capistratus, Chaetodon striatus, Abudefduf saxitilis, Thalassoma
bifasciatum, Scarus croicensis, Sparisoma radians, and Acanthurus
coeruleus. Other species are only occasionally recorded in the northern
gulf and only in certain favorable years. Thus, 1971 was an especially
productive year for tropical species at the St. Andrew jetties, and
several rare species were present. Examples of these are Apogon
maculatus, Pomacentrus fuscus, Pomacentrus partitus, Halichoeres
radiatus, Scarus coelestinus, and Hypleurochilus bermudensis. The
East Pass jetties were not studied during 1971 so some of these
species could have been present there also. P. A. Hastings and Bortone
(1976) recorded H. radiatus (and H. poeyi) at the jetties in August,
1974. Additional rare species occasionally recorded in the northern
gulf are Holocentrus vexillarius, Abudefduf taurus, Doratonotus
magalepis, Sparisoma chrysopterum, S. rubripinne, and S. viride. Ad-
dition of similar rare species to the faunal lists of the northern gulf will
undoubtedly continue and all of these species may eventually be
recorded at the East Pass jetties.
Unfortunatley, these coral reef stragglers have often been grouped
with the northern gulf reef residents discussed in the preceding section
and referred to collectively as "tropical" marine fishes (Caldwell 1959,
1963; Dawson 1962, 1963, 1970, 1971, 1972; Haburay et al. 1969).
Possibly the term "tropical" should be used in a more restricted sense
to refer to those fishes that are unable to survive the low winter
temperatures of the northern gulf, either inshore or offshore, and must
be recruited each spring or summer from spawning populations in
more southern waters. In contrast, a number of fishes that are
members of typical coral reef families are permanent residents of off-
shore reefs in the northern gulf, even though they cannot tolerate the
colder winter temperatures inshore. This is no justification for calling
them "tropical," since most of the typical temperate water fishes of
the northern gulf also disappear from inshore waters in the winter, ap-
parently moving offshore to deeper water where temperatures are
To cite one example, the blue angelfish, Holacanthus bermudensis,
usually referred to as tropical, and the bank seabass, Centropristis
ocyurus, usually referred to as subtropical or temperate, have basically
the same geographical distribution: from about North Carolina south
along the Continental Shelf of the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mex-
ico. Both species are rare in the West Indies. In contrast, the queen
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 83
angelfish, Holacanthus ciliaris, is rare along the coast of North
America, even in the most southern parts, but is common in the coral
reef areas of the West Indies. Although the queen angelfish could
justifiably be referred to as tropical, such fishes may be more properly
defined as "insular," in contrast to "continental" (Robins 1971). The
situation is confused, however, because many of these northern gulf
stragglers require shallow reef habitats, as well as warm temperatures.
Possibly depth or other environmental factors prevent such species
from inhabiting the natural offshore reefs of the northern gulf.
The latter point is further substantiated by the existence of ap-
parently permanent populations of some species such as Pomacentrus
partitus, Thalassoma bifasciatum, and Scarus croicensis at the Florida
Middle Ground Reef (Smith et al. 1975; Smith 1976) located at 28011'
to 28045'N; 8400' to 84025'W, on the West Florida shelf. Buffered en-
vironmental conditions, structural complexity of the reefs, water col-
umn productivity, benthic algal productivity, and varying depths
(24-48 m) were suggested as contributing to the maintenance of the
diverse and abundant Middle Ground fish fauna (Smith et al. 1975). A
similar situation seems to exist at the Flower Garden Reefs in the
western gulf (Cashman 1973). Although some strays along the north-
west Florida coast could originate from reefs such as the Middle
Ground, the prevailing currents of the eastern gulf (especially the Loop
Current) suggest a Caribbean origin.
SUCCESSIONAL CHANGES IN THE FISH FAUNA
Discrete successional changes in community composition were not
recorded during this study. There were obvious successional changes,
however, in the number of species present on the jetties (Fig. 7). Dur-
ing the first year of the study (1968), the number of species observed
on each dive increased from an initial 18 to 20 species in June to an
average of about 30, and remained relatively stable between August
and the first part of November. The maximum count in this period was
38 species on 6 September. Following a pronounced winter decline in
species present (described in the following section), the same general
pattern of increase in number of species was evident in 1969 and also
in 1970, with the increase beginning in February or March, and conti-
nuing to its peak in September or October. Such increase can be at-
tributed to the annual recruitment of species to the jetty habitat
following their winter absence. The total number of species recorded
during each of the three years of the study have also increased, with 74
recorded in 1968, 94 in 1969, and 110 in 1970. During successive years,
the number of species recorded at any particular time of the year (ex-
cept possibly the winter) has also increased, despite the marked
84 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM Vol. 24, No. 1
30 * *
S40- . *
J F M A M I J A S 0 N D
FIGURE 7.-NumberE If species of fishes recorded during observations on the East Pass
jetties during 1968, 1969, and 1970.
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 85
seasonal changes. Thus, for the month of June, 18 to 20 species were
recorded in 1968, 28 to 33 in 1969, and 25 to 37 in 1970. Average
counts for the period from July through October are 28 species in 1968,
35 in 1969, and 37 in 1970. Excluding one very low count in 1970,
which is obviously erroneous (23 July), the average number for that
year is 39.
Species not recorded or rare during 1968 but which became relative-
ly numerous during 1969 and 1970 are Opsanus beta, Syngnathus
springeri, Centropristis melana, Mycteroperca microlepis, Pomatomus
saltatrix, Echeneis neucratoides, Caranx ruber, Eucinostomus sp., Ar-
chosargus probatocephalus, Holacanthus bermudensis, Blennius mar-
moreus, Bathygobius soporator, and Acanthurus coeruleus. Although
this phenomenon can be explained partly by the continued recruitment
of new species to the jetties, the situation is somewhat more complex
since the pattern was repeated annually even though most of the fishes
were absent during the winter. Many species of inshore fishes move
offshore to deeper water during the winter and the recruitment of
fishes to habitats such as the jetties must be repeated each spring.
This recruitment was more and more successful each year, indicating
that niches on the habitat were becoming more numerous, and a
greater variety of fishes were able to live there. This was possibly
because of changes in the diversity and quantity of food sources such
as benthic algae and invertebrates.
At least two species (Opsanus beta and Hypleurochilus geminatus)
formed permanent populations on the jetties, and therefore did not
have to be recruited in subsequent years. Individuals of some species
that became established in 1968, but which moved out to deeper water
for the winter, might have been able to "home" back to the jetties in
the spring. This is apparently the case with Serranus subligarius and
Halichoeres bivittatus, since they became established late in 1968, but
were common early in the spring in 1969 and 1970.
A few species that were common in 1968 were less numerous during
subsequent years. This trend was most obvious in Centropristis
philadelphica and Balistes capriscus. The scarcity of C. philadelphica
in 1969 and 1970 may have resulted from a lack of recruitment from
permanent spawning populations in other areas since all those present
at the jetties were juveniles. The situation is more complex and dif-
ficult to explain in the case of Balistes capriscus. Adults of this species
were present from June through October and were common in August
during 1968. Only a few were seen during 1969 and none during 1970.
Its absence during 1970 is especially strange since the species was
abundant during August, 1970, on a reef about 6.4 km south of East
Pass. This relatively active fish is typical of reef habitats but also
spends much time in open water moving from reef to reef. There seems
86 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
to be no reason why it could not have reached the vicinity of the East
Pass jetties during 1970. Two additional species that became less
numerous at the jetties are Antennarius ocellatus and Mugil curema.
Neither of these species was ever common enough at the jetties to be
certain evidence of any particular trend.
Bairdiella chrysura, Cantherhines pullus, and Monacanthus
hispidus displayed another unusual pattern of occurrence. Each
species was present in substantial numbers during 1968 and 1970, but
was scarce or absent in 1969. The same pattern was seen in Scarus
croicensis, but this species was never common on the jetties. Such a
pattern could indicate an annual difference in the number of in-
dividuals of each species recruited into the area. There are obviously
yearly differences in the transport of pelagic young of some species in-
to the area, but most are species that never become common on the jet-
ties (including Scarus croicensis). Species such as Bairdiella chrysura
and Monacanthus hispidus, which are usually common in inshore
waters of the northern gulf, might be expected with equal frequency
every year in habitats such as the jetties. Possibly there was a general
decline in abundance of these two species throughout the area in 1969,
but other habitats were not studied and this possibility could not be
verified. Both species were common at the St. Andrew jetties during
SEASONAL CHANGES IN THE FISH FAUNA
Pronounced seasonal changes occur in the composition of fish
faunas in all inshore habitats of the northern gulf. Many species begin
to disappear in the fall, apparently either moving offshore into deeper
water or migrating southward along the Florida coast, and are almost
completely absent during the winter. This winter decline in number of
species present (as well as in number of individual fishes) was especial-
ly obvious at the jetties, where only about 5 to 10 species were usually
present during January and February (Figs. 7 and 8). These seasonal
changes in number of species followed very closely the seasonal
changes in temperature. The autumn decline began in October when
the water temperature first began to drop below the summer high of
300C, but the major decrease in number of species occurred in
November when the temperature dropped below 200C. Most species
had left the area by December but a slight warming trend early in
December, 1970, seemed to permit many species to remain inshore
through December (Fig. 7). Most of these had disappeared by January,
The only species that were consistently present as adults through-
out the year were Opsanus beta and Hypleurochilus geminatus, but
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 87
c- 5- 0 0
A 0 I 1 6I
F M A M i 1 A S 0 N D
FIGURE 8.-Number of species of fishes recorded in plot counts on the East Pass jetties
88 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
even these were less numerous in the winter. Adults of Lagodon rhom-
boides and Leiostomus xanthurus follow the usual pattern of moving
offshore in the fall, but both species spawn after leaving the inshore
waters, and large numbers of larvae and small juveniles appear inshore
in November and December. The latter two species were the most
numerous fishes on the jetties during the winter months but only
small juveniles were present. Mugil cephalus has similar reproductive
habits (Anderson 1958), but juveniles of this species were much less
numerous at the jetties. Larvae of Myrophis punctatus also appeared
inshore during the winter, but collections of this species were too few
to allow determination of its occurrence pattern at the jetties. Other
species occasionally recorded during the winter are Dasyatis sabina,
Gobiesox strumosus, Menidia beryllina, Diplectrum formosum, Ser-
raniculus pumilio, Serranus subligarius, Archosargus pro-
batocephalus, Halichoeres bivittatus, Gobiosoma longipala and
Chilomycterus schoepfi. Except for Archosargus, these species were
considerably more numerous during the warmer months than in the
The winter exodus of fishes from inshore waters is apparently in
most cases a direct response to temperature changes (May et al. 1976).
Most common species inhabiting inshore areas of the northern gulf can
tolerate temperatures as low as 15C, and some can survive at
temperatures of 10C or even lower if the decline is gradual. However,
winter temperatures inshore can fluctuate considerably over short
periods. Apparently, the offshore migrations serve to place the fishes
in more stable, deep-water areas where temperatures are less variable
and usually do not drop below 15C. Inshore areas are certainly not
devoid of food resources during the winter when some cold-adapted
species such as Urophycis move inshore and devour large quantities of
invertebrates and larval fishes that are still present (Reid 1954; Lewis
and Wilkens 1971). Larval and prejuvenile stages of Lagodon rhom-
boides, Leiostomus xanthurus, and Mugil cephalus find adequate
foods inshore and probably are at a distinct advantage in moving in-
shore when most of the potential predators are absent.
The spring increase in number of species inshore begins in
February or March when the water temperature is still between 15 and
20C. The severity of winter temperatures may affect the distance
that some. species move offshore, and thus affects the date at which
those species again appear inshore. The rather mild temperatures of
the winter of 1968-1969 not only allowed several species to remain in-
shore, but also accelerated the influx of some speices in the spring. Ex-
amples of such arrivals were Orthopristis chrysoptera, Lagodon
rhomboides (adult), Acanthurus chirurgus, and Acanthurus randalli.
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 89
Possibly the fishes move to various depths offshore, depending upon
the temperature. During colder winters they may move farther off-
shore and thus require more time in the spring to move back inshore.
The winter habitats of such species are still not known, and much addi-
tional research is required before such problems can be adequately ex-
Seasonal changes occurring in the fish fauna are well illustrated by
the counts of numbers of species and individual fishes made in 1970 on
the three plots marked off on the jetties (Tables 2-5; Fig. 2). Species are
arranged in the tables to show the general pattern of recruitment of
new species into the area during the spring and summer. The plots
represent only small positions of the jetties, however, and most species
listed were present at earlier dates on other parts of the jetty.
These plot counts also illustrate the numerical importance of the
various species on the jetties. Hypleurochilus geminatus was the most
common species during the winter, except for larval and prejuveniles
of Lagodon rhomboides and Leiostomus xanthurus, and remained one
of the dominant members of the fauna throughout the year. It was
probably more numerous than these counts indicate. In April
Halichoeres bivittatus first appeared in the plot counts and im-
mediately became the most numerous member of the fauna. In July
there was a major increase in the counts of Halichoeres, apparently
resulting from spawning in May and June, since many seen subse-
quently were small juveniles. This species was abundant through the
middle of November and was far more numerous than any other
species. Even so, its numbers began to decline in November and it was
absent in the plots by January. The third dominant member of the jet-
ty fauna was Lagodon rhomboides. Adults first appeared in May and
remained in the plots through the middle of November. These three
species, Halichoeres bivittatus, Hypleurochilus geminatus, and
Lagodon rhomboides, constituted about 84 percent of all the fishes
counted on the jetties.
Most major species in the plots had been recorded by September,
although a few did not appear until November, when most species had
begun to disappear from the area. Again it should be emphasized that
most of these species had already been observed on other parts of the
jetty. As noted above, the major decline in both number of species and
number of individuals occurred about the middle of November. The
slight increase in counts following the major reduction on November
21 occurred at the time of a slight temperature rise in early December.
Many fishes (especially Halichoeres bivittatus, Orthopristis
chrysoptera, and the scarids) had moved out to deeper water at the
90 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
south end of the jetty late in November, and many moved back along
the jetties as the temperature rose in December.
EFFECTS OF CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FACTORS
Variations in salinity, water clarity, currents, surge and depth (in
addition to temperature) have affected the fish fauna on the jetties.
Salinity, water clarity, and currents fluctuated with the tidal cycle.
Tidal ranges in the area are generally less than about 36 cm, so water
depths were not significantly altered by tidal shifts.
The salinity at the jetties was high during flood tides, usually
about 28-35 o/oo and was often slightly higher on the channel side, ap-
parently because the lower salinity bay water was trapped to a certain
extent on the gulf side of the jetty. By the end of the flood tide,
however, the salinity on each side of the jetty was about equal. As the
tide began to ebb, the low salinity bay water was carried for the most
part along the channel side of the jetty, and salinity in this area was
reduced considerably. Early in the tidal cycle the less dense, low salini-
ty water was carried along the jetty at the surface, forming a sharp
isocline at a depth of about one meter. Salinity differentials across this
isocline were occasionally as high as 15 o/oo. Toward the end of an ebb
tide the salinity of the water along the channel side of the jetty was
low; the lowest recorded was 7.3 o/oo. Thus, the fishes living on this
part of the jetty were subjected to a wide range of salinities daily.
Water clarity also tended to follow the tidal cycle since the ebbing
bay water was generally more discolored than the high salinity gulf
water. Consequently, the water on the channel side was generally less
clear and also varied to a greater extent than that on the gulf side.
Tidal flow along the jetty often created rather strong currents on
the channel side but rarely on the gulf side. During such periods most
of the fishes remained near the bottom, either under rocks or in
crevices where they could avoid being swept away.
As might be expected considering the differences on the two sides
of the jetties, some species were restricted to one side or the other, and
some that were present on both sides were not equally common on the
two sides. Fishes living on the channel side (Plot I) had to withstand
considerable fluctuations in the environment, including periods of low
salinity, decreased water clarity, and rather strong currents. The gulf
side (Plots II and III) was characterized by generally more stable con-
ditions, but this area was subjected to the almost continual stress of
surge breaking against the jetty. Kyphosus sectatrix was almost
never seen on the channel side of the jetty, but seemed to prefer areas
where surge was the greatest. Species such as Hypleurochilus
geminatus, Lagodon rhomboides, Orthopristis chrysoptera, Acan-
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 91
thurus chirurgus, and Acanthurus randalli were also more common on
the gulf side based upon the mean number counted per square meter of
bottom area (Tables 2-4). However, Hypleurochilus geminatus, one of
the few species present during the winter, was recorded only on the
channel side during the winter. Its absence on the gulf side may result
from the increased surge during the winter. Species often recorded on
the channel side but rare on the gulf side were Leiostomus xanthurus,
Serranus subligarius, Diplectrum formosum, Opsanus beta, Blennius
marmoreus, Serraniculus pumilio, and Bathygobius soporator.
Halichoeres bivittatus was about equally common on both sides.
Another factor affecting the distribution of fishes on the jetties
was water depth. Deeper areas on the jetties typically had con-
siderably more species, as well as more individual fish, than the
shallow areas. In the deeper regions more surface area of the jetty
rocks was usually exposed; hence, both water depth and available
cover served to increase the number of fish present. The deeper areas
at the seaward ends of the jetties always harbored more fishes than
other parts of the jetties, and the fishes remained in such areas late in
the fall after they had disappeared from the shallower depths. The high
number of species (25) recorded on 1 March 1969 resulted from the
poisoning of a deep area (5.7 m deep, but subsequently shoaled over) on
the gulf side of the west jetty at the seaward end of the weir portion.
Many species not usually present at that time of year had apparently
remained in the area or possibly moved inshore early because of the
moderate temperatures of that winter, and had congregated in the
deeper water where temperatures might have been more stable.
TROPHIC STRUCTURE OF THE FISH FAUNA
No detailed study of energy flow on the jetties was attempted in
this study, but a few generalizations are possible (based upon stomach
analyses reported in Hastings 1972). The primary producers on the jet-
ties were the numerous species of benthic algae that cover most of the
rocks, but apparently only a few of the common fishes on the jetties
fed directly upon these plants. Some which did consume large quan-
tities of plant material were Archosargus probatocephalus, Lagodon
rhomboides, Kyphosus sectatrix, Chaetodipterus faber, Pomacentrus
variabilis, Nicholsina usta and other scarids, Blennius marmoreus,
Hypleurochilus geminatus, Acanthurus chirurgus, and Acanthurus
randalli. Of these, Archosargus, Lagodon, Chaetodipterus, Pomacen-
trus, Blennius, and Hypleurochilus also fed to some extent upon
various invertebrates. At times large quantities of sea grass
fragments (mostly Diplanthera) accumulated at the base of the jetties,
but the energy flow from this material to the fish fauna is unknown.
92 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
No grass beds occurred in the immediate vicinity of the jetties, and
such plants do not play a major role in the economy of the jetty fishes
in this area. The importance of planktonic material in the economy of
the jetties is not known, but some species were occasionally seen
feeding in midwater or at the surface near the jetties. Examples are
Lagodon rhomboides and Chaetodipterus faber. Phytoplankton was
probably consumed by few fishes but may have been important to
some invertebrates which served as food for fishes.
Some energy flow into the system came by way of the numerous
pelagic fishes that congregated near the jetties. Such fishes fed
primarily in the open areas surrounding the jetties. This pelagic group
included planktonic feeders (Harengula pensacolae, Sardinella an-
chovia, and Decapterus punctatus), which may have provided food for
the few large predators (Mycteroperca microlepis and Lutjanus
griseus) that resided on the jetties as well as for species of pelagic
predators (Pomatomus saltatrix, Caranx crysos, and Scomberomorus
maculatus) which also congregated about the jetties. Some species
such as Lutjanus griseus, Leiostomus xanthurus, and Bairdiella
chrysura may have fed predominantly on invertebrates over the sand
flats surrounding the jetties and thus incorporated some energy into
the jetty food web. These fishes may play a role comparable to the
numerous lutjanids and pomadasyids of coral reef areas that use the
reefs only as shelter and feed in surrounding areas during the night
(Starck and Davis 1966). However, the sand flats around the East Pass
jetties seem rather barren when compared with the grass flats of coral
reef lagoons and back reef areas, so these fishes may remain near the
jetties to feed. Since no night studies on the jetties were attempted,
the nocturnal activities of these fishes are not known. Nocturnal
studies at the Stage II platform off Panama City Beach (Hastings
et al. 1976) indicate that Harengula pensacolae, Caranx crysos,
Haemulon aurolineatum and Orthopristis chrysoptera are nocturnal
feeders that disperse into open water areas at night.
Most fishes inhabiting the jetties fed upon small invertebrates or
small fishes that lived among the rocks or in dense algal mats covering
these rocks (Hastings 1972). Thus, most fishes were secondary con-
sumers, and the various crustaceans, polychaetes, mollusks, and other
small invetebrates were the primary consumers that fed upon the ben-
thic plant material. Hypleurochilus geminatus, one of the most
numerous resident fishes, was an important food item for many
species, since it was commonly found in the stomachs of specimens col-
lected on the jetties.
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 93
COMPARASION OF EAST PASS AND ST. ANDREW JETTIES
Of the 204 species that have been recorded in the immediate
vicinities of these two habitats, 61 species were recorded at the St. An-
drew jetties but not at the East Pass jetties, and 23 were recorded only
at the East Pass jetties (Table 1). It should be noted that a few of these
were recorded in both areas but not actually on both jetties. Fishes of
the families Exocoetidae and Belonidae were seen at the East Pass jet-
ties, but none was collected and consequently none could be identified
to species. Excluding these two groups, 44 species were recorded in the
St. Andrew area only, and 8 in the East Pass area only. Thus, at least
150 species were common to both habitats.
In comparing the fish faunas listed for these two jetties, the
amount of study given to each habitat must be considered. Although
the East Pass jetties have been studied much more extensively during
the two and one-half year period from June, 1968, to January, 1971,
the records for the St. Andrew jetties cover a longer time period
(1958-1972) and include the results of several collectors in the area. In
addition the fishes of St. Andrew Bay have been studied during this
period whereas comparable records were not available for Choctaw-
hatchee Bay. The collections of Allison (1961) spanned a two-year
period during 1958 and 1959, and several other biologists from Florida
State University, including myself, have collected extensively at the
St. Andrew jetties since 1967, frequently using rotenone.
During most observations at the St. Andrew jetties, more species
were recorded than for comparable periods at the East Pass jetties.
From July through October in 1970 and 1971, the average number
recorded per observation day was about 47, compared to about 38 at
East Pass in 1970. The same general seasonal pattern was observed at
the St. Andrew jetties, however, with only about 10 species recorded in
Of the 23 species recorded at the East Pass jetties only (Table 1),
most are rather common in the northern gulf but exhibit almost no at-
traction to reef structures. These might be expected to occur at times
near the St. Andrew jetties. Rare species such as Engraulis eurystole,
Trachinotus goodei, Erotelis smaragdus, and Dactylopterus volitans
should occur at the St. Andrew jetties with about the same frequency
as at East Pass, but to date have not been recorded there. All but one
of the typical reef species included in this list (Lutjanus campechanus,
Ocyurus chrysurus, Mulloidichthys martinicus, and Balistes vetula)
are also rare inshore in the northern gulf, and consequently were rare
at the East Pass jetties. Bathygobius soporator was never common at
East Pass but was seen rather frequently during 1970. Why it should
be absent at the St. Andrew jetties is not known, but it is apparently
94 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
not common anywhere in the northern gulf. Gobiesox strumosus
seems to be a similar example, since it was recorded considerably more
often at East Pass than at the St. Andrew jetties. The last two species
seem to have similar ecological requirements and the scarcity of the
two at the St. Andrew jetties may be related.
The list of fishes recorded only at the St. Andrew jetties (Table 1)
includes numerous strays from more tropical areas that occur
sporadically in the northern gulf. Examples of these are Holocentrus
rufus, Holocentrus vexillarius, Centropomus undecimalis, Kyphosus
incisor, Abudefduf taurus, Pomacentrus fuscus, Lachnolaimus max-
imus, Scarus coelestinus, Sparisoma aurofrenatum, Sparisoma viride,
and Hypleurochilus bermudensis. Such species were never common at
the St. Andrew jetties and should be expected to appear occasionally
at East Pass. Another large portion of this list includes common
estuarine inhabitants of the northern gulf that are usually not at-
tracted to reef structures. Most were not common at the St. Andrew
jetties, but some might be expected there more often than at East
Pass because of the protected habitat available in the adjacent
lagoons. Most probably occur in Choctawhatchee Bay. Examples are
Lepisosteus osseus, Bascanichthys scuticaris, B. teres, Anchoa mit-
chilli, Pogonias cromis, Polydactylus octonemus, Citharichthys
macrops, Achirus lineatus, and Monacanthus ciliatus. Several species
recorded only at the St. Andrew jetties are strays from the natural
reefs in deeper water offshore and may be more frequently encountered
at the St. Andrew jetties because of the greater depths there. Ex-
amples of these are Conger oceanicus, Gymnothorax saxicola, Apogon
pseudomaculatus, Astrapogon alutus, Lutjanus analis, Lutjanus
apodus, Equetus lanceolatus, Chaetodon sedentarius, Halichoeres
caudalis and Coryphopterus punctipectophorus. Other deep water
species not necessarily characteristic of reef habitats are Seriola
dumerili, Stenotomus caprinus and Scorpaena calcarata. Again, these
species might be expected to occur occasionally inshore at East Pass.
This is the case with Apogon pseudomaculatus and Stenotomus
caprinus for which there are literature records of their collection at
East Pass in 1956 and 1954, respectively (Caldwell 1955; Caldwell and
Although actual comparative counts of numbers of individuals on
the St. Andrew jetties were not made, several species were obviously
more numerous there than at East Pass. Such differences, as well as
the absence of some species at East Pass, may be attributable in some
way to the greater size or length of the St. Andrew jetties, the greater
depths on the channel side, or to the protected habitat available in the
lagoons. Several species from the offshore reefs including Epinephelus
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 95
morio, Rypticus maculatus, Haemulon aurolineatum, Haemulon
plumieri and Equetus umbrosus were considerably more numerous at
the St. Andrew jetties, probably because of the greater depths there.
The lagoons also provide a limited amount of sandy mud substrate and
also extensive grass beds in close proximity to the jetties; several
species associated with such habitats were more numerous at the St.
Andrew jetties. Possibly of only minor importance is the greater diver-
sity of attached benthic algae and invertebrates attributable to the
greater age of the habitat. Although additional species will undoubted-
ly be added to the faunal list for this habitat, the East Pass jetties
have apparently reached a stable condition as far as common fishes are
concerned. In spite of the differences observed between the two areas,
the fish fauna of the East Pass jetties in general is quite similar to that
of the St. Andrew jetties.
COMPARISON OF THE JETTIES AND OFFSHORE REEFS
A few obvious differences have been noted between the fish fauna
of the natural reefs at depths of 18-30 m off northwest Florida and that
of the rocky habitats inshore, even though only a limited number of
observations have been made in this study on the offshore reefs. Some
of the typical inshore species recorded at the jetties never occur off-
shore. Likewise, the abundant estuarine species that move offshore to
spend the winter were not seen near the reefs. If they congregate near
such bottom irregularities, they must move out to depths greater than
about 30 m. The typical reef species (such as Serranus subligarius,
Pomacentrus variabilis, and Halichoeres bivittatus) that are common
inshore in the warmer months must move out to these reefs during the
winter, but the number of observations was too limited to indicate any
seasonal changes in abundance of these species. Many of the dominant
reef species recorded inshore were at least present on these offshore
reefs during the winter. There is apparently some seasonal change in
the reef fauna at depths up to 30 m, and many of the species (such as
Lutjanus campechanus) move farther offshore to deeper reefs during
However, the reefs at depths of 18-30 m support an interesting
assortment of typical reef residents that are present throughout the
year. These offshore reefs, with their year-round residents, are un-
doubtedly the original habitat of many of the common species found
inshore during the warmer months. Examples of fishes in this
category are Diplectrum formosum, Mycteroperca microlepis, Ser-
raniculus pumilio, Serranus subligarius, Rypticus maculatus, Lut-
janus griseus, Diplodus holbrooki, Chaetodipterus faber, Chaetodon
ocellatus, Pomacentrus variabilis, Halichoeres bivittatus, Nicholsina
96 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
TABLE 6.-SPECIES RECORDED ON THE OFFSHORE REEFS (DEPTHS OF 18-30 M) OFF NORTH-
WEST FLORIDA, BUT NOT INSHORE AT THE JETTIES.'
Species Common Name Estimated
Opsanus pardus Leopard toadfish common
Epinephelus drummondhayi Speckled hind occasional
Epinephelus nigritus Warsaw grouper common
Pristigenys alta Short bigeye occasional
Seriola rivoliana Almaco jack occasional
Rhomboplites aurorubens Vermilion snapper common
Calamus leucosteus Whitehead porgy common
Pagrus sedecim Red porgy common
Equetus (Pareques) sp. nov. Black-bar drum occasional
Chromis enchrysurus Yellowtail reeffish common
Chromis scotti Purple reeffish common
loglossus calliurus Blue goby common
Microgobius carri Seminole goby occasional
'Additional species collected at these reefs are listed by Jordan (1885, 1887); Jordan and
Evermann (1887, 1896-1900); Jordan and Gilbert (1883, 1884); Jordan and Swain
(1885); Goode and Bean (1883); Springer and Bullis (1956); Bullis and Thompson
(1965); B6hlke and Robins (1969); Caldwell (1959, 1963); Randall and Caldwell
(1966); and Vick (1964).
usta, Blennius marmoreus, Acanthurus chirurgus, Acanthurus ran-
dalli, Scorpaena brasiliensis, and Balistes capriscus. In contrast, other
species are common on the offshore reefs but only occasionally or rare-
ly appear inshore. Examples are Gymnothorax nigromarginatus, G.
saxicola, Centropristis ocyurus, Apogon pseudomaculatus, Lutjanus
campechanus, Equetus lanceolatus, Holacanthus bermudensis,
Halichoeres caudalis, and Coryphopterus punctipectophorus. Some
species occurring on these reefs may never move into depths less than
about 12 m (Table 6). Apparently other environmental factors such as
depth are important in restricting the distribution of such obligate reef
The numerous species of reef fishes regarded here as strays from
tropical waters were rarely or never seen on the offshore reefs. A few of
these (such as Chaetodon capistratus, Abudefduf saxatilis,
Thalassoma bifasciatum, and Sparisoma radians) appeared nearly
every summer inshore at the jetties but for some reason have not
become established as permanent residents in the northern gulf.
Either the low winter temperatures on the offshore reefs (about 15C)
are below their tolerance level or else they cannot take refuge on these
offshore reefs because of some other factors. Some such as Abudefduf
saxatilis and Pomacentrus fuscus are restricted to depths less than
about 18 m, and consequently are excluded from the offshore reefs. A
Vol. 24, No. 1
1979 HASTINGS: NORTHEASTERN GULF FISH FAUNA 97
few tropical species might be able to survive inshore during mild
winters, but usually only juveniles appear each spring or summer.
Structures such as rock jetties function as artificial reef habitats
and greatly affect the occurrence of various species of fishes in areas
such as East Pass where natural reef habitats are lacking. Thus it
seems that engineers involved in the design and construction of such
structures should give some consideration to designs that would max-
imize the benefit and minimize the adverse effects that such projects
might have on the biota of an area.
The study of East Pass was concerned primarily with species that
were attracted to the new habitat and that consequently increased in
numbers at East Pass. Conceivably, the jetties could have had a
detrimental effect upon some species. The jetties have changed circula-
tion patterns in the pass and could impede the movement of fishes into
and out of the bay or along the gulf beach. It any such detrimental
changes have occurred at East Pass, they were not evident.
The jetties have had advantageous effects on many species of
fishes and some have increased their numbers considerably at East
Pass. However, there are certain aspects of the design of the East Pass
jetties that have limited their effectiveness as an artificial reef.
Criteria suggested for consideration in the construction of artificial
reefs (Unger 1966; Woodburn 1966; Turner et al. 1969) are generally
not applicable to jetties since the location and design of such struc-
tures are usually determined by their intended purpose. However, a
few modifications in the construction of the East Pass jetties could
have made them more attractive to food and game fishes, as well as to
anglers and divers.
Depths along most of the jetties are too shallow to support large
quantities of fishes, and in addition there is only a limited amount of
rocky substrate available underwater. A design that would have al-
lowed greater depths along the jetties would have then allowed greater
quantities of game and food fishes to remain near the jetties.
An attribute of the St. Andrew jetties that makes them more pro-
ductive from both a biological and a recreational point of view is the
presence of protected coves on the shoreward ends of these jetties.
These coves provide quiet water areas for swimming and boating and
also support seagrass beds and a variety of quiet water organisms not
common at East Pass. The greater depths along most of the jetties and
the presence of protected lagoonal areas are probably the two most im-
portant factors contributing to the greater diversity of fishes present
at the St. Andrew jetties.
98 BULLETIN FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
Angling pressure on the East Pass jetties is limited to some extent
by their inaccessibility. The irregular placement and looseness of the
jetty rocks causes some difficulty and danger to those who would walk
on the jetties. Much of the west jetty is accessible only by boat since
the weir portion separates it from the beach. However, boat owners in
the area prefer locations other than the jetties, so that area is usually
not fished. During a short period when the weir portion was shoaled
over by dredge spoil, fishing pressure on the west jetty increased con-
siderably. Designs more advantageous for fishermen could result in a
more desirable cost-benefit ratio for projects such as jetty construc-
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Mexico, Preliminary Report. Unpublished student paper, Florida State Universi-
ty, Tallahassee, Florida. (Work completed under office of Naval Research project
NONR 988). 63 p.
Anderson, W. W. 1958. Larval development, growth, and spawning of striped mullet
(Mugil cephalus) along the south Atlantic coast of the United States. U.S. Fish
Wildl. Serv. Fish. Bull. 58(144):501-519.
Anonymous. 1969. "Tsukiisos" and "Gyoshos." A review of artificial reefs research.
World Fishing 18(3):62.
Arnold, E. L., Jr., and J. R. Thompson. 1958. Offshore spawning of the striped mullet,
Mugil cephalus, in the Gulf of Mexico. Copeia 1958(2):130-132.
Austin, G. B., Jr. 1955. Some recent oceanographic surveys of the Gulf of Mexico.
Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union 36(5):885-893.
Bailey, R. M., J. E. Fitch, E. S. Herald, E. A. Lachner, C. C. Lindsey, C. R. Robins, and
W. B. Scott. 1970. A list of common and scientific names of fishes from the United
States and Canada. Amer. Fish Soc. Spec. Publ. No. 6. 149 p.
Ballard, R. D., and E. Uchupi. 1970. Morphology and Quaternary history of the Con-
tinental Shelf of the gulf coast of the United States. Bull. Mar. Sci. 20(3):547-559 &
Supplement, Plate 1.
Baughman, J. L. 1947. Fishes not previously reported from Texas, with miscellaneous
notes on the species. Copeia 1947(4):280.
_ 1950a. Random notes on Texas fishes, Part I. Texas J. Sci.
__ 1950b. Random notes on Texas fishes, Part II. Texas J. Sci. 2(2):242-263.
Beecher, H. A. 1973. Effects of a hurricane on a shallow-water population of damsel
fish, Pomacentrus variabilis. Copeia 1973(3):613-615.
Berry, F. H. 1959. Young jack crevalles (Caranx species) off the southeastern Atlantic
coast of the United States. U.S. Fish Wild. Serv. Fish. Bull. 59(152):417-535.
Berry, F. H., and L. E. Vogele. 1961. Filefishes (Monacanthidae) of the western North
Atlantic. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Fish. Bull. 61(181):1-28.
Bohlke, J. E., and C. C. G. Chaplin. 1968. Fishes of the Bahamas and adjacent tropical
water. Livingston Publishing Co., Wynnewood, PA. xxxi+771 p.
Bohlke, J. E., and C. R. Robins. 1969. Western Atlantic sponge-dwelling gobies of the
genus Evermannichthys: Their taxonomy, habits, and relationships. Proc. Acad.
Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 121:1-24.
Vol. 24, No. 1