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Variation in the diet of the red cod with size and season around the Falkland Islands (south-west Atlantic)

  • A. Arkhipkin (a1), P. Brickle (a1), V. Laptikhovsky (a1), L. Butcher (a1), E. Jones (a1), M. Potter (a1) and D. Poulding (a1)...
Abstract

Ontogenetic and seasonal variations in the diet were studied for a benthopelagic fish, the red cod Salilota australis (Pisces: Moridae) from the Falkland Islands shelf. The study revealed that small fish (<39 cm total length, TL) fed mainly on benthic gammarid amphipods, with squid Loligo gahi, Illex argentinus and the fish Patagonotothen spp. being of secondary importance. In medium sized fish (40–60 cm TL) the importance of fish in their diet increased, but benthic gammarid amphipods remained important, although their role decreased in the percentage by weight. Large fish (>61 cm TL) fed mainly upon Patagonotothen spp. which consisted of 90% by weight. Seasonal variations were analysed only for medium-sized fish. In February–June, S. australis fed mainly on benthic amphipods and Patagonotothen spp. In July–October, the squid Loligo gahi became the most common prey. In November–January benthic crustaceans reappeared in the diet, and Patagonotothen spp. became the most important prey item followed by benthic gammarid amphipods and the isopod Seriolis sp. The niche breadth was found to be similar in the different size groups (2·03–2·66), indicating that the fish fed on one to two abundant prey items in each group. The niche breadth of medium-sized fish varied seasonally reflecting the diversity of prey items utilized throughout the year.

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Corresponding author
e-mail: aarkhipkin@fisheries.gov.fk
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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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