Florida lancelet

Branchiostoma floridae

ORDER

Amphioxiformes FAMILY

Branchiostomatidae TAXONOMY

Branchiostoma floridae Hubbs, 1922, Tampa Bay, Florida. OTHER COMMON NAMES

(Listed names were originally coined for the European species Branchiostoma lanceolatum. Because of the morphological uniformity of cephalochordates they are usually used for all species.) English: Amphioxus, lancelet; French: Amphioxus, lancelet; German: Amphioxus, Lanzettfischchen; Spanish: Anfioxo, pez lanceta, lanceta.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Sixty (56-64) myotomes: 36 (33-40) preatriopore, 16 (14-17) atriopore to anus, 8 (6-11) postanal. Two hundred eighty-six (206-349) dorsal fin chambers. Reaches up to 2.3 in (59 mm) in total length.

DISTRIBUTION

Gulf of Mexico from southwestern Florida westward to Texas. Maybe also along Central American coasts from Mexico to Venezuela.

HABITAT

Sandy bottoms from 1.64-98.42 ft (0.5-30 m) in depth. BEHAVIOR

Probably same as for family.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Probably same as for family.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Reproductive period occurs in Tampa Bay, Florida, from late spring to late summer. Individuals can spawn, ripen, and spawn again in the same breeding season.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Branchiostoma floridae occurs in very shallow water where it is accessible without boats. A population in Tampa Bay, Florida, has recently become a major source especially for molecular studies of embryonic development. ♦

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