the diet and feeding of the cutlassfish trichiurus lepturus were studied based on analyses of the stomach contents of larvae, juveniles, and adults collected along the continental shelf and shelf break off southern brazil, from the cape of santa marta grande (28°36′s) to chuí (34°45′s). the larvae and pre-juveniles with a total length of <5 cm were found to have fed almost exclusively on calanoid copepods, whereas juveniles (5 to 30 cm) fed on small zooplanktonic crustaceans such as lucifer faxoni and promysys atlantica. on the other hand, sub-adults (30 to 70 cm), fed on euphausiids, mainly euphausia similis, and small fish, mostly anchovy engraulis anchoita. adults (70 to 160 cm) fed on a wide range of larger prey, such as anchovy, sciaenid fish, cephalopods and coastal shrimps, as well as euphausiids. the juveniles and sub-adults fed more intensively than adults during the warm-water season whereas adults fed more intensively during the cold-water season. feeding activity was more intense at night, while cannibalism was more frequent during the warm season, when biological productivity was lower. finally, diet diversity was higher in coastal waters, during the warm season. the abundance of cutlassfish off southern brazil may be explained by the fact that it is adapted to feed on a wide size-range of both pelagic and demersal prey.