The planktonic duration (PD) was determined in fourteen intertidal rocky fishes from the south-eastern Pacific Ocean by counting the otolith micro-increments from hatch check to a transition mark (TM). TMs were validated by comparing the PDs estimated from post-settlers with the total increment counts from otoliths of more recent (new) settlers. In 11 species (79%), the most common TM corresponded to a notable decrease in increment width after settlement. The PDs ranged from 45 days in the kyphosid Girella laevifrons to 135 days in the labrisomid Auchenionchus variolosus, and eight species (57%) had mean PDs of longer than three months. The mean observed size-at-settlement (SASM) values ranged from 17.5±7.2mm TL in Gobiesox marmoratus (Gobiesocidae) to 40±5.5mm TL in Calliclinus geniguttatus (Labrisomidae) and showed low variability within species of the same family. PDs were markedly longer in intertidal rocky fishes than in other littoral and reef fishes in tropical and temperate waters. A lengthy and variable duration of the pre-settlement phase, along with a relatively consistent size-at-competence within closely related species, are suggested as mechanisms through which these fishes may increase their probability to settle in the spatially restricted habitat of exposed rocky pools.
- intertidal fishes
- otolith increment