THE Elusive spawn of Keys Bonefish

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust scientists are honing in on critical spawning habitat for Bonefish in the Florida Keys with the help of modern technology and the knowledge of veteran guides.

Pursuing the scientific knowledge base behind bonefish conservation the Trust has discovered much about bonefish spawning rituals and key aggregations in Belize, the Bahamas and Cuba.

During full and new moon cycles from fall through early spring, fish from as far away as 70 miles form pre-spawning aggregations (PSAs) at nearshore sites, where they prepare to spawn by porpoising at the surface and gulping air to fill their swim bladders. At night, they swim offshore and dive hundreds of feet before surging back up to the surface. The sudden change in pressure makes their swim bladders expand, causing them to release their eggs and sperm. After fertilization takes places, the hatched larvae drift in the ocean’s currents for  between 41 and 71 days before settling in shallow sand- or mud-bottom bays, where they develop into juvenile bonefish.

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