Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Analysis of surface and subsurface plankton collections in the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) yielded larvae and juveniles of Phycis chesteri and five species of Urophycis. Identification was based on numbers of epibranchial gill rakers, abdominal vertebrae, and. fin rays (dorsal, caudal, pelvic), patterns of pterygiophore interdigitation, and morphometric characters including body depth at the vent and a ratio between height of the pelvic-fin base and length of the mandible. Urophycis tenuis accounted for 99% of the Urophycis larvae and pelagic juveniles collected during spring off Virginia and New Jersey and was most abundant offshore. Urophycis tenuis larvae were smallest at off-shore stations and increased in size as collections proceeded shoreward. Urophycis chuss was found in summer and fall collections off the coasts of New Jersey and Virginia, with abundances highest at midshelf stations. Urophycis chuss was the only species of hake found during August and early September, and it dominated summer ichthyoplankton collections. Urophycis regia was found primarily in midshelf areas off Virginia during fall, but was also collected offshore from both Virginia and New Jersey during winter. Phycis chesteri, also found in fall and winter collections, was restricted to offshore stations. Southern species, found exclusively in offshore winter collections, included U. floridana and U. cirrata.
Comyns, Bruce H. and Grant, George C., Identification And Distribution Of Urophycis And Phycis (Pisces, Gadidae) Larvae And Pelagic Juveniles In The United-States Middle Atlantic Bight (1993). Fishery Bulletin, 91(2), 210-223.