Feeding habits and population aspects of the spotted goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus (Perciformes: Mullidae), on the continental shelf of northeast Brazil
Andrey Soares, Alex Souza Lira, Júlio Guazzelli Gonzalez, Leandro Nolé Eduardo, Flávia Lucena-Frédou, François Le Loc’h, Beatrice Padovani Ferreira, Thierry Frédou

This study provides information about the feeding habits, population aspects and spatial distribution of the spotted goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus, along the coast of the tropical Brazilian continental shelf. Distribution patterns are described using length frequencies and catch rates. Stable isotope ratios of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N), along with stomach contents, were analysed to determine the diet of the spotted goatfish. Multivariate analysis and numerical indicators of the diet, such as numerical frequency, frequency of occurrence and weight percentage, were computed to evaluate the diet composition. The mean trophic position was defined using both stable isotope ratios and stomach content analysis. The length at first maturity for the species was determined as 13.7 cm. A slight pattern in size distribution was observed, with mean size increasing with depth along the shelf. The diet was mainly composed of crustaceans, teleosts and Polychaeta. No clear dietary difference was found between habitat types, water depth or latitude. Both trophic positions estimated by stable isotopes and stomach contents analysis ranged between levels 3 and 4. P. maculatus was found to be feeding on many rare and infrequent prey items, classifying it as a generalist zoobenthivorous predator, probably due to its efficient search strategy.

Keywords: distribution patterns; stomach content analysis; Brazil; cross-shelf; stable isotopes
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 84(2) : 119-131 Back PDF
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