Swimming abilities of wild-caught sand-smelt Atherina presbyter larvae were assessed as critical swimming speed (Ucrit) throughout ontogeny. The mean Ucrit increased with size, ranging from 3·6 to 18·7 cm s−1, over the size range of 6·6–21·0 mm LT. This indicates that at hatching A. presbyter larvae, far from being passive floaters, are already capable of active behaviours, which may influence their dispersal patterns.
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