|Flatfish selection by herring gulls Larus argentatus and lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus scavenging at commercial beamtrawlers in the southern North Sea|
Camphuysen, C.J. (1994). Flatfish selection by herring gulls Larus argentatus and lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus scavenging at commercial beamtrawlers in the southern North Sea. Neth. J. Sea Res. 32(1): 91-98
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Flatfish selection by scavenging herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls was studied onboard a commercial beamtrawler in the southern North Sea, June-August 1993. Dab (median total length 18 cm), plaice (23 cm), sole (22 cm) and solenette (10 cm) dominated the flatfish discard fraction of the catch. The overall consumption amounted to 30.5% of the discarded flatfish. Flatfish were selected on the basis of fish width rather than length or species, with very low consumption rates (percentage consumed of number offered) of flatfish >8 cm width. All discarded solenette, 98% of all sole and 92% of all dab were of suitable size for these gulls, whereas only 12% of all discarded plaice were small enough to be consumed. Consumption rates of discarded flatfish of 'suitable size' for herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls (<8 cm width) ranged from 25.9% (plaice) to 40.5% (dab). Success indices and selected size classes of flatfish in scavenging herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls feeding on flatfish were similar, but the first were more efficient than the latter and lost fewer flatfish as a consequence of kleptoparasitism. In contrast to earlier suggestions (based on dietary studies in colonies), there was no evidence that herring gulls were outcompeted by lesser black-backed gulls when feeding on discarded fish.