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Adaptive Significance of Intertidal Egg Deposition in the Atlantic Silverside Menidia menidia
H. Thaxter Tewksbury, II and David O. Conover
Vol. 1987, No. 1 (Feb. 11, 1987), pp. 76-83
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1446040
Page Count: 8
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Field experiments at Great South Bay on Long Island, New York revealed that survival of Menidia menidia embryos was highest in the high intertidal (41.1%), intermediate in the mid intertidal (20.0%), and lowest in the subtidal zone (9.4%). At Flax Pond, Long Island, however, survival of embryos was similar (33.8-43.7%) among all elevations in early June. In a later predator-exclosure experiment, survival was significantly higher in the intertidal than in the subtidal zone among uncaged embryos (15% in the high intertidal, 15% in the mid intertidal, and 1% in the subtidal zone for uncaged embryos), but did not differ with elevation among embryos protected by predator-exclosure cages (35.8% in the high intertidal, 20.8% in the mid intertidal, 43.1% in the subtidal zone). In general, embryo survival was high despite rapid fluctuations in temperature and salinity. The adaptiveness of intertidal egg deposition in M. menidia is primarily due to protection from aquatic predators and not to avoidance of unfavorable physical or chemical factors in the subtidal.