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Diet of the blue marlin, Makaira nigricans, off the south coast of Portugal
Veiga, P.; Xavier, J.C.; Assis, C.A.; Erzini, K. (2011). Diet of the blue marlin, Makaira nigricans, off the south coast of Portugal. Mar. Biol. Res. 7(8): 820-825
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo; Basingstoke. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Veiga, P.
  • Xavier, J.C.
  • Assis, C.A.
  • Erzini, K.

Abstract
    The blue marlin, Makaira nigricans (Istiophoridae), is a large, top predator with a worldwide distribution whose feeding ecology is still unknown in the northeast Atlantic. The stomach contents of 24 Atlantic blue marlin, caught by the Big Game fishing fleet (between 2007 and 2010) off the south coast of Portugal, were studied. All marlin fed exclusively on pelagic fish, with a total of 180 prey items recorded, belonging to 6 identified species. The most important family in the blue marlin diet was Scombridae, representing 70% of the total prey items. Among the Scombridae, the chub mackerel, Scomber colias, was the most important prey species (47.9% by weight, 51.1% by number, 58.3% by frequency of occurrence). The length of prey found in the stomachs ranged from 136 to 727 mm in length, and a significant positive correlation was found between prey and blue marlin size. Our results suggest that in this geographical area (NE Atlantic) marlin feed on a small spectrum of species, with a preference for foraging on seamounts.

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