The spatial distribution patterns of fish larvae and the relationships with hydrographic conditions in the waters surrounding Taiwan were studied in August 2004 when the south-westerly monsoon prevailed. A total of 6566 fish larvae were identified, belonging to 80 families, 129 genera and 230 species. Cluster analysis revealed two station groups, one associated with the South China Sea Surface Current (SCSSC) and the other with the Kuroshio Current (KC). The SCSSC group was characterized by mostly coastal and neritic species, and the KC group was predominated by oceanic species. Larger fish larvae were generally more abundant in the neritic waters west of Taiwan where the SCSSC prevails than in the waters east of Taiwan where the KC prevails. The combination of chlorophyll a, zooplankton and nitrite best explained the relationship of larval fish distribution and environmental variables, implying that the distribution of fish larvae in summer was closely linked to the food source. The changing of monsoons potentially affects the succession of water masses and the transport and assemblage of fish larvae in this study area.