Evidence of displacement of lanternfish larvae associated with surface water movement: Case studies from Southern Africa

  • M-P Olivar
  • J Salat
  • LE Beckley


The paper is based on larval distribution data from five lanternfish species outside the spawning grounds of the adult populations. Using hydrographic information collected with the larvae, the effect of surface currents
on the observed patterns of distribution is discussed. In the South-East Atlantic, adjacent to the Benguela upwelling system, larvae of the pseudoceanic Lampanyctodes hectoris were found farther offshore (250 – 450 km) than usual. The general flow of the current is parallel to the coast, but upwelling filaments extend offshore. The size distributions of the L. hectoris larvae found, together with the rather low temperature at two of the oceanic stations sampled, indicate that they had been displaced by a filament. In the South-West Indian Ocean, the distribution of larvae of highly oceanic species of lanternfish over the shelf is related to onshore intrusions of the Agulhas Current. The size distributions of Hygophum hygomii and Scopelopsis multipunctatus indicate southward transport of larvae. The presence of larvae of Myctophum selenops and Benthosema pterotum, which have not been documented as adults in the region, indicates not only transport to the area, but also that spawning could be taking place closer to the area than previously reported.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X