Eggs are spherical, generally with a single oil droplet. Sometimes, however, more than one droplet is observed (Tabb 1966). Eggs can be both demersal and pelagic, depending on salinity conditions (Perret et al. 1980). When salinity is high, eggs are buoyant. When salinity drops below 25 parts per thousand (ppt), eggs tend to sink. Optimum survival salinity for eggs and larvae is approximately 28 ppt (Taniguchi 1980). Larvae hatch approximately 18 hours after fertilization and measure 1.3 - 1.6 mm (0.05 - 0.06 inches) SL under laboratory conditions (Fable et al. 1978). At 10 - 15 mm (0.4 - 0.6 inches) in length, larvae are most commonly found in shallow seagrass beds in bays and lagoons. At water temperatures averaging 28 ºC (82.4 ºF), larvae persist for 20 days before metamorphosis. Juveniles 6-8 weeks of age measure 2.5 - 5.0 cm (1.0 - 2.0 inches) in length and begin to form schools consisting of similarly sized individuals. Schooling behavior remains strong until approximately Age VI - VII, when both males and females become semi-solitary (Tabb 1966). In laboratory studies, spotted seatrout larvae held at 24-26ºC (75.2 - 78.8 ºF) grew from 1.5 mm (0.05 inches) at hatching to 4.5 mm (0.18 inches) SL in 15days (Fable et al. 1980).
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