August 2008

The VIMS Juvenile Fish Survey team counted large Summer Flounder, several approaching 24 inches, in the vicinity of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. The upper Rappahannock River near Lowery Point and the York River upstream of Bells Rock produced large Atlantic Croaker (between 13 and 14 inches). Members of the crew measured a fair number of Bluefish in the 14 to 15 inch range while sampling northeast of Back River Reef.

While continuing to sample in the vicinity of Back River Reef, scientists noted the presence of Atlantic Moonfish. Atlantic Moonfish are a unique member of the Jack family (Carangidae) which includes Pompano, Permit, Crevalle Jacks, and the more familiar Lookdowns, among others. During summer and autumn Atlantic Moonfish regularly occur as far up Chesapeake Bay as southern Maryland. Moonfish possess a bright silvery compressed body with a steep (nearly vertical) head. Moonfish are said to reach about 1 foot in length and eat small fishes and crustaceans.

Survey scientists also noted the presence of several other unique and interesting species this month including: Northern Stargazer, Blue Runner, and Bullnose Rays.