Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Occurs farther offshore in salinities of 30-36 ppt. Minimum depth reported taken from Ref. 57178. Benthic. Feeds on crustaceans and worms (Ref. 58426); mainly on copepod, Calanus finmarchicus (Ref. 5951).
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Distribution

Greenland to North Carolina
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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North Atlantic: Greenland to North Carolina. Also in the northeast Atlantic (Ref. 7251).
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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North Atlantic.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 56 - 67; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 28 - 35; Vertebrae: 68 - 76
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Size

Maximum size: 250 mm TL
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Max. size

25.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251))
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Diagnostic Description

Number of lateral plicae 124-147, with a mean of 132.1.
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Ecology

Habitat

benthic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Bottom living species found to depths of 90 m, over sand bottoms.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Environment

demersal; marine; depth range 0 - 108 m (Ref. 58426)
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Depth range based on 5558 specimens in 2 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4716 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 6.5 - 515
  Temperature range (°C): -2.072 - 22.418
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.029 - 21.618
  Salinity (PPS): 31.008 - 36.463
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.477 - 7.938
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.141 - 1.765
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.424 - 17.531

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 6.5 - 515

Temperature range (°C): -2.072 - 22.418

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.029 - 21.618

Salinity (PPS): 31.008 - 36.463

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.477 - 7.938

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.141 - 1.765

Silicate (umol/l): 1.424 - 17.531
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Habitat Type: Marine

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Depth: 0 - 36m.
Recorded at 36 meters.

Habitat: demersal. Occurs farther offshore in salinities of 30-36 ppt.
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Stellwagen Bank Pelagic Community

 

The species associated with this page are major players in the pelagic ecosystem of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Stellwagen Bank is an undersea gravel and sand deposit stretching between Cape Cod and Cape Ann off the coast of Massachussets. Protected since 1993 as the region’s first National Marine Sanctuary, the bank is known primarily for whale-watching and commercial fishing of cod, lobster, hake, and other species (Eldredge 1993). 

Massachusetts Bay, and Stellwagen Bank in particular, show a marked concentration of biodiversity in comparison to the broader coastal North Atlantic. This diversity is supported from the bottom of the food chain. The pattern of currents and bathymetry in the area support high levels of phytoplankton productivity, which in turn support dense populations of schooling fish such as sand lance, herring, and mackerel, all important prey for larger fish, mammals, and seabirds (NOAA 2010). Sightings of many species of whales and seabirds are best predicted by spatial and temporal distribution of prey species (Jiang et al 2007; NOAA 2010), providing support for the theory that the region’s diversity is productivity-driven.

Stellwagen Bank is utilized as a significant migration stopover point for many species of shorebird. Summer visitors include Wilson’s storm-petrel, shearwaters, Arctic terns, and red phalaropes, while winter visitors include black-legged kittiwakes, great cormorants, Atlantic puffins, and razorbills. Various cormorants and gulls, the common murre, and the common eider all form significant breeding colonies in the sanctuary as well (NOAA 2010). The community of locally-breeding birds in particular is adversely affected by human activity. As land use along the shore changes and fishing activity increases, the prevalence of garbage and detritus favors gulls, especially herring and black-backed gulls. As gull survivorship increases, gulls begin to dominate competition for nesting sites, to the detriment of other species (NOAA 2010). 

In addition to various other cetaceans and pinnipeds, the world’s only remaining population of North Atlantic right whales summers in the Stellwagen Bank sanctuary. Right whales and other baleen whales feed on the abundant copepods and phytoplankton of the region, while toothed whales, pinnipeds, and belugas feed on fish and cephalopods (NOAA 2010). The greatest direct threats to cetaceans in the sanctuary are entanglement with fishing gear and death by vessel strikes (NOAA 2010), but a growing body of evidence suggests that noise pollution harms marine mammals by masking their acoustic communication and damaging their hearing (Clark et al 2009).

General threats to the ecosystem as a whole include overfishing and environmental contaminants. Fishing pressure in the Gulf of Maine area has three negative effects. First and most obviously, it reduces the abundance of fish species, harming both the fish and all organisms dependent on the fish as food sources. Secondly, human preference for large fish disproportionately damages the resilience of fish populations, as large females produce more abundant, higher quality eggs than small females. Third, by preferentially catching large fish, humans have exerted an intense selective pressure on food fish species for smaller body size. This extreme selective pressure has caused a selective sweep, diminishing the variation in gene pools of many commercial fisheries (NOAA 2010). While the waters of the SBNMS are significantly cleaner than Massachusetts Bay as a whole, elevated levels of PCBs have been measured in cetaceans and seabird eggs (NOAA 2010). Additionally, iron and copper leaching from the contaminated sediments of Boston Harbor occasionally reach the preserve (Li et al 2010). 


  • Clark CW, Ellison WT, Southall BL, Hatch L, Van Parijs SM, Frankel A, Ponirakis D. 2009. Acoustic masking in marine ecosystems: intuitions, analysis and implication. Inter-Research Marine Ecology Progress Series 395:201-222.
  • Eldredge, Maureen. 1993. Stellwagen Bank: New England’s first sanctuary. Oceanus 36:72.
  • Jiang M, Brown MW, Turner JT, Kenney RD, Mayo CA, Zhang Z, Zhou M. Springtime transport and retention of Calanus finmarchicus in Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays, USA, and implications for right whale foraging. Marine Ecology 349:183-197.
  • Li L, Pala F, Mingshun J, Krahforst C, Wallace G. 2010. Three-dimensional modeling of Cu and Pb distributions in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Estuarine Coastal & Shelf Science. 88:450-463.
  • National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration. 2010. Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctary Final Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. “Section IV: Resource States” pp. 51-143. http://stellwagen.noaa.gov/management/fmp/pdfs/sbnms_fmp2010_lo.pdf
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Occurs farther offshore in salinities of 30-36 ppt. Minimum depth reported taken from Ref. 57178. Benthic; feeds on crustaceans and worms (Ref. 58426). Preyed upon by Atlantic cod, haddock, pollock, plaice, yellowtail flounder, seabirds, puffins and harbor seals. Parasites of the species include trematodes, Branchyphallus crenatus, Derogenes varicus and Lecithaster gibbosus; cestodes Bothriocephalus scorpii; a tetraphyllid larva; and a nematode Thynnascaris (Contracaecum) adunca (Ref. 5951).
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Feeds on planktonic organisms especially copepods
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Ammodytes dubius

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ammodytes dubius

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 14
Specimens with Barcodes: 24
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of potential interest
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