September 2008

As is common this time of year, large Summer Flounder were present in samples from numerous locations. The largest of these, several 24-inch fish, were measured near Hampton Bar in the James River. A single Southern Flounder was also measured in this vicinity. This is only the second verified VIMS record of a Southern Flounder from within Chesapeake Bay. Southern Flounder look very similar to Summer Flounder but lack ocellated (eyelike) spots on the eyed side of the fish. They are common to the south of Chesapeake Bay.

An Atlantic Bumper, another unique member of the local fish assemblage, was also collected from the Hampton Bar area during September. Atlantic Bumper, infrequent visitors to lower Chesapeake Bay during autumn, are members of the Jack family.

During the last several months survey scientists have seen Penaeid shrimps (southern commercial shrimps) with increasing regularity. Shrimp are part of the diet of many fish and an increase locally would make them more available for fish to eat.

Another interesting animal encountered this month was the Cannonball Jellyfish. Cannonball Jellyfish are more common closer to the tropics (locally only as strays). They have a unique ball shape and their sting does not affect most people.