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Feeding ecology of two demersal opportunistic predators coexisting in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

AuthorsLópez, Nieves; Navarro, Joan ; Barría, Claudio ; Albo Puigserver, Marta ; Coll, Marta ; Palomera, Isabel
KeywordsBlack anglerfish
Lophius budegassa
Lophius piscatorius
Stomach contents
Stable isotopes
Spatial distributions
Trophic ecology
White anglerfish
Issue DateJun-2016
CitationEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 175: 15-23 (2016)
AbstractThe study of the feeding ecology of marine organisms is crucial to understanding their ecological roles and advancing our knowledge of marine ecosystem functioning. The aim of this study was to analyse the trophic ecology of two demersal predator species, black anglerfish (Lophius budegassa) and white anglerfish (L. piscatorius), in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Both species are important in the study area due to their high abundance and economic value, but information about their feeding behaviour is scarce. Here, we described the diet composition and ecological role of these two species, investigating whether trophic segregation exists between them and amongst fish of different sizes. In addition, by using experimental survey data we described the spatial distribution of both species to help us interpret trophic behaviour patterns. We gathered samples of two different sizes (small individuals of a total length <30 cm and large individuals ≥30 cm) of both species and combined stomach content analyses (SCA) and stable isotope analyses (SIA) of nitrogen and carbon with isotopic mixing models. Our results revealed that both anglerfish species are opportunistic predators, showing a diet composed mainly of fishes and, to a lesser extent, of crustaceans, with a small proportion of cephalopods, gastropods, bivalves and echinoderms. We found trophic segregation between the two species and the two sizes, indicating that they feed on different prey, in line with differences in their spatial distribution within the study area. This partial partition of food resources could also be explained by the differences in rhythms of activity that were reported in previous studies. In addition, although both species occupied a high position within the food web, our results showed that white anglerfish individuals and the large-sized fish of both species held higher trophic positions. This study demonstrates the usefulness of complementary approaches for trophic studies and confirms that both anglerfish species play an important role as predators in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea food web
Description9 pages, 4 figures, 4 tables, 1 appendix supplementary data https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2016.03.007.-- This study is a contribution to the project ECOTRANS (CTM2011-26333, Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competiveness, Spain) and to the Master's thesis of NL
Publisher version (URL)https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2016.03.007
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.03.007
issn: 0272-7714
e-issn: 1096-0015
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