Distribution patterns of adults and juveniles of the golden goby Gobius auratus, were Studied at the marine protected area of the Tremiti Archipelago (SE Italy, central Adriatic Sea). Surveys were carried out in three periods chosen at random between June 2002 and June 2003 at six sites randomly located on three (i.e. S. Domino, Caprara and Pianosa) of the four main islands that form part of the Tremiti Archipelago. The abundance of G. auratus was estimated by visual census on rocky cliffs at three depth levels: 5-7, 12-15 and 25-30 m. The results of this study show that 1) G. auratus is fairly evenly distributed in sublittoral rocky cliffs at the Tremiti Archipelago, 2) adults are mainly associated with deep levels (i.e. 25-30 m depth), and 3) juveniles are mostly distributed at shallower depth (i.e. ca. 12-15 m) than adults. These results highlight some ecological features of G. auratus (e. g. depth preference of adults and juveniles), that, as well as many other small cryptobenthic fish species, is still poorly known because of its lack of commercial value and the difficulty of sampling by means of traditional methods (e.g. nets).
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