Scientia Marina, Vol 73, No 4 (2009)

Feeding habits of Pagellus acarne (Sparidae) in the Gulf of Tunis, central Mediterranean


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2009.73n4667

Rafika Fehri-Bedoui
Unité de Biologie, Ecologie et Parasitologie des Organismes Aquatiques, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Tunisia

Emna Mokrani
Unité de Biologie, Ecologie et Parasitologie des Organismes Aquatiques, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Tunisia

Oum Kalthoum Ben Hassine
Unité de Biologie, Ecologie et Parasitologie des Organismes Aquatiques, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Tunisia

Abstract


The feeding habits of the axillary seabream, Pagellus acarne (Risso, 1810), from the Gulf of Tunis were investigated in relation to season, sex and fish size (juveniles TL < 14.5 cm and adults TL ≥ 14.5 cm). A total of 536 specimens (males, females, unsexed and hermaphroditic), ranging between 11.0 and 25.2 cm TL, were collected with trammel nets from June 2005 to July 2006. Their stomach contents were analysed. Of the total number of examined stomachs, 279 stomachs were empty (Vacuity index, VI = 52%). The VI did not reveal significant seasonal differences when all of the specimens were analysed together; however, significant seasonal variations were observed for females. The diet of the axillary seabream was composed of 36 different prey species. The most important prey were Arthropoda, Mollusca and Echinodermata. Both the dietary indices and the Spearman’s coefficient of correlation indicated seasonal variations in the diet. The diet was more diversified in adults than in juveniles. The axillary seabream fed on a wide range of prey items, endofauna and nekton, and can be considered a carnivorous and euryphagous predator.

Keywords


Pagellus acarne; diet; dietary indices; Gulf of Tunis; central Mediterranean

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