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Laura Sanvicente-Añorve, Santiago Aréstegui-Paz Rubio, Elia Lemus-Santana, Eugenia Allende-Arandía and Jorge Zavala-Hidalgo

Abstract

The distribution and abundance of hippoid zoeal stages offshore Veracruz, southern Gulf of Mexico, and the migration routes of these larvae in the western Atlantic, were analysed. Samples were collected with a Bongo net and larval dispersal was analysed applying the HYCOM hydrodynamical model; particles (virtual larvae) originating from 35 sites were tracked for 77 days. Larvae of Albunea paretii Guérin-Méneville, 1853 were the most abundant, and dispersal simulations indicated that older larvae occurring off Veracruz might originate from Texas. However, a substantial proportion of self-recruitment (7.8%) can occur, mainly due to the seasonal changes in direction of currents over the shelf as well as the high variability in weather conditions. Results also suggest that several generations of A. paretii are needed for the species to reach Veracruz from South America. A hypothetical model regarding the migration routes of A. paretii larvae in the western Atlantic is proposed.