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Feeding habits and trophic status of Merluccius hubbsi along the northernmost limit of its distribution in the South-western Atlantic

  • Paulo A. S. Costa (a1) (a2), Adriana C. Braga (a1), Giovanna S. Malavolti (a1), Marcos A. L. Franco (a3), Pedro V. Gatts (a2) (a3), Andressa Batista (a3) and Carlos E. Rezende (a3)...

Abstract

Stomach contents analysis and stable isotope results indicate M. hubbsi is a generalist predator that feeds mainly on demersal fishes, followed by crustaceans and cephalopods. Ontogenetic changes in diet were identified, with fish importance increasing in the diet with hake size. Smaller hake (<250 mm) fed mostly on the sepiolid Semirossia tenera (89.45%IRI) and engraulid fish (89.96%IRI). Mid-sized hake (250–300 mm) fed mainly on benthic fish such as Bellator brachychir (95.63%IRI) and euphausiids (56.46%IRI), while larger hake (>300 mm) fed heavily on Dactylopterus volitans (94.80%IRI) and occasionally on a variety of teleosts. Significant correlations between δ13C (P < 0.05), THg (P < 0.001) and hake size occurred, whereas no relationship was observed between δ15N and hake size or δ15N and total mercury. Signatures were lowest in smaller hake with a tendency of increasing with size. Smaller and larger hake were significantly different in δ13C. Differences regarding isotopic niche width were quantified for each size group; trophic diversity and trophic redundancy among them were negligible, but hake >300 mm possibly have a larger feeding plasticity due to the combination of prey from a wide trophic level range.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Paulo A. S. Costa, E-mail: paulocosta.unirio@gmail.com

References

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Keywords

Feeding habits and trophic status of Merluccius hubbsi along the northernmost limit of its distribution in the South-western Atlantic

  • Paulo A. S. Costa (a1) (a2), Adriana C. Braga (a1), Giovanna S. Malavolti (a1), Marcos A. L. Franco (a3), Pedro V. Gatts (a2) (a3), Andressa Batista (a3) and Carlos E. Rezende (a3)...

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