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Ontogeny of diet changes in a tropical benthic carnivorous fish, Parupeneus barberinus (Mullidae): relationship between foraging behaviour, habitat use, jaw size, and prey selection
Lukoschek, V.; McCormick, M.I. (2001). Ontogeny of diet changes in a tropical benthic carnivorous fish, Parupeneus barberinus (Mullidae): relationship between foraging behaviour, habitat use, jaw size, and prey selection. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 138(6): 1099-1113. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s002270000530
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Lukoschek, V.
  • McCormick, M.I.

Abstract
    Parupeneus barberinus forages on benthic invertebrates using a wide range of foraging modes, including vigorous digging in the substratum, resulting in considerable disturbance to the benthos. Polychaetes were the most important prey item for all size classes, but fishes less than 120 mm total length consumed more small ostracods and nematodes than did larger fishes. Fishes greater than 120 mm total length consumed mostly bivalves, and fishes over 240 mm total length consumed mostly bivalves and crabs. A morphological examination of the feeding apparatus suggested that the size of important prey items consumed was determined by gape height and jaw width. Prey available to different size classes of fishes was determined by combining information on microhabitat use, foraging behaviours, and prey volumes in the substratum. Small fishes spent more time foraging on the reef flat and slope, compared with larger fishes that foraged mostly on the reef edge and base. In addition smaller fishes foraged mostly in the upper 2 cm of sediment, whereas larger fishes often foraged to depths of 10 cm. Selection ratios showed that different size classes of fishes selectively extracted different prey items from the substratum. Small fishes showed a preference for ostracods whereas large fishes selected for bivalves and crabs. Although polychaetes were the dominant prey item for all size classes, they were consistently selected against.

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