|Food resource use in a tropical eastern Pacific tidepool fish assemblage|In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
|Authors|| || Top |
- Castellanos-Galindo, G.A.
- Giraldo, A.
An understanding of the trophic organization patterns of tropical littoral fish assemblages can contribute to the knowledge of key ecosystem processes while simultaneously assisting to validate large-scale biogeographic patterns (i.e. latitudinal patterns in fish herbivory). In the present study, the diets of eight fish species inhabiting the tide pools of a rocky shore on the western coast of Colombia (tropical eastern Pacific) are documented. A total of 17 prey items were identified, with a major representation (average percent by weight) of crabs and macroalgae items in the guts of all species. Small crustacean prey items (crabs, shrimps, copepods and amphipods) dominated the diets of most species, but consumption of macroalgae and diatoms by a significant number of species was also observed. We identified four significant trophic guilds within the assemblage using multivariate techniques (cluster analysis and nMDS): an omnivorous guild, consisting of Malacoctenus zonifer and the smallest size class of Bathygobius ramosus; a small-prey carnivorous guild, consisting of the intermediate size classes of B. ramosus and the smallest size class of Gobiesox adustus; a large-prey carnivorous guild, consisting of both largest size classes of B. ramosus and G. adustus; and an herbivorous guild consisting of Abudefduf concolor, A. troschelii and Chaenomugil proboscideus. The diet of two species slightly overlapped those of the rest of the assemblage and did not conform to any guild (Echidna nocturna and Halichoeres aestuaricola). It is hypothesised that guild formation may be a consequence of aggregation of species at abundant resources in the intertidal zone rather than a direct consequence of inter-specific competition. Ontogenetic changes in diets were observed in two resident species of the assemblage (B. ramosus and G. adustus). The latitudinal trend for herbivory inside this tropical assemblage is discussed in comparison with similar temperate studies in the eastern Pacific.