All About Florida Keys Fishing & Key West Fishing

    Ladyfish, Elops saurus

    Ladyfish are found throughout Florida’s nearshore and estuarine habitats. In the western
    Atlantic, ladyfish range from southern New England and Bermuda, throughout the Gulf of
    Mexico, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953). There may be more than one
    species or stock of ladyfish in Florida waters: a southern low-myomere-count stock and a
    northern, high-myomere-count stock (Eldred and Lyons 1966; Smith 1989). Late larval and
    juvenile ladyfish inhabit coastal beaches, canals, rivers, and mosquito impoundments (Gilmo
    al. 1981). In general, juveniles seek waters with lower than full-strength salinity: 23 ppt–25 ppt
    (McBride et al. 2001). Adults usually live in coastal or nearshore areas. Length-frequency
    analysis suggests ladyfish in Tampa Bay grow to 200 mm–300 mm standard length by age 1; by
    age 2, they reach 300 mm–400 mm, and they are larger than 400 mm by age 3 (McBride et al.
    2001). Ladyfish that live in hypersaline lagoons in Cuba grow slower, reaching only 247-mm
    standard length at the time when their third annulus formed (Table 1; Carles 1967). Ladyfish
    reach a maximum size of about 39 inches, a weight of about 15 pounds (Zale and Merrifield
    1989), and possibly 6 years of age (Palko 1984). Based on the spatial and temporal patterns o
    collections of early larvae, spawning probably occurs in offshore waters during the fall
    (Hildebrand 1943).
Download complete report
(including figures)
Status and Trends 2007 Report
Florida’s Inshore and Nearshore Species
by Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Upper Keys Fishing
Marine Fisheries News
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