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Jellyfish as prey: frequency of predation and selective foraging of Boops boops (Vertebrata, Actinopterygii) on the Mauve Stinger Pelagia noctiluca (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa)
Milisenda, G.; Rosa, S.; Fuentes, V.L.; Boero, F.; Guglielmo, L.; Purcell, J.E.; Piraino, S. (2014). Jellyfish as prey: frequency of predation and selective foraging of Boops boops (Vertebrata, Actinopterygii) on the Mauve Stinger Pelagia noctiluca (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa). PLoS One 9(4): e94600. hdl.handle.net/10.1371/journal.pone.0094600
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Milisenda, G.
  • Rosa, S.
  • Fuentes, V.L.
  • Boero, F., more
  • Guglielmo, L.
  • Purcell, J.E.
  • Piraino, S., more

Abstract
    In recent years, jellyfish blooms have attracted considerable scientific interest for their potential impacts on human activities and ecosystem functioning, with much attention paid to jellyfish as predators and to gelatinous biomass as a carbon sink. Other than qualitative data and observations, few studies have quantified direct predation of fish on jellyfish to clarify whether they may represent a seasonally abundant food source. Here we estimate predation frequency by the commercially valuable Mediterranean bogue, Boops boops on the mauve stinger jellyfish, Pelagia noctiluca, in the Strait of Messina (NE Sicily). A total of 1054 jellyfish were sampled throughout one year to quantify predation by B. boops from bite marks on partially eaten jellyfish and energy density of the jellyfish. Predation by B. boops in summer was almost twice that in winter, and they selectively fed according to medusa gender and body part. Calorimetric analysis and biochemical composition showed that female jellyfish gonads had significantly higher energy content than male gonads due to more lipids and that gonads had six-fold higher energy content than the somatic tissues due to higher lipid and protein concentrations. Energetically, jellyfish gonads represent a highly rewarding food source, largely available to B. boops throughout spring and summer. During the remainder of the year, when gonads were not very evident, fish predation switched towards less-selective foraging on the somatic gelatinous biomass. P. noctiluca, the most abundant jellyfish species in the Mediterranean Sea and a key planktonic predator, may represent not only a nuisance for human leisure activities and a source of mortality for fish eggs and larvae, but also an important resource for fish species of commercial value, such as B. boops.

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