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Trophic ecology of the chihuil sea catfish (Bagre panamensis) in the south-east Gulf of California, México

  • Víctor M. Muro-Torres (a1), Felipe Amezcua (a2), Raul E. Lara-Mendoza (a3), John T. Buszkiewicz (a4) and Felipe Amezcua-Linares (a5)...

Abstract

The trophic ecology of the chihuil sea catfish Bagre panamensis was studied through high-resolution variations in its feeding habits and trophic position (TP) in the SE Gulf of California, relevant to sex, size and season. The combined use of stomach content (SCA) and stable isotope analysis (SIA) allowed us to perform these analyses and also estimate the TP of its preys. Results of this study show that the chihuil sea catfish is a generalist and opportunistic omnivore predator that consumes primarily demersal fish and peneid shrimps. Its diet did not vary with climatic season (rainy or dry), size or sex. Results from the SIA indicated high plasticity in habitat use and prey species. The estimated TP value was 4.19, which indicates a tertiary consumer from the soft bottom demersal community in the SE Gulf of California, preying on lower trophic levels, which aids in understanding the species' trophic role in the food web. Because this species and its prey are important to artisanal and industrial fisheries in the Gulf of California, diet assimilation information is useful for the potential establishment of an ecosystem-based fisheries management in the area.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: F. Amezcua, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Joel Montes Camarena s/n, 82000 Mazatlan, Sinaloa, México email: famezcua@ola.icmyl.unam.mx

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