Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 2 (2012)

Feeding ecology of the deep-sea lanternshark Etmopterus pusillus (Elasmobranchii: Etmopteridae) in the northeast Atlantic


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.03540.07B

José C. Xavier
Institute of Marine Research (IMAR-CMA), Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra , Portugal

Cátia Vieira
Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR), University of Algarve , Portugal

Carlos Assis
Department of Animal Biology and Institute of Oceanography, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon , Portugal

Yves Cherel
Centre d´Etudes Biologiques de Chizé , France

Simeon Hill
British Antarctic Survey , United Kingdom

Esmeralda Costa
Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR), University of Algarve , Portugal

Teresa C. Borges
Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR), University of Algarve , Portugal

Rui Coelho
Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR), University of Algarve , Portugal

Abstract


This study provides the first description of the feeding ecology of the smooth lanternshark Etmopterus pusillus based on stomach contents of specimens caught as bycatch in the Algarve (southern Portugal) with bottom trawling and bottom longline. The diet of E. pusillus consists mainly of fish (dry weight (% W)=87.1%; frequency of occurrence (%FO)=28.6%; number (%N)=30.3%), crustaceans (%W=7.7%; %FO=36.7%; %N=3.4%) and cephalopods (%W=4.7%; %FO=11.3%; %N=11.1%). The diet did not vary between sexes. Ontogenic changes were detected: crustaceans decreased in importance as the sharks increased in size and fish became dominant in the diet of adults. Combining two fishing methods provided broad information on the diet of E. pusillus, as bottom trawling caught smaller specimens and longlines caught larger individuals. E. pusillus feeds mainly on non-commercial species, and therefore does not compete directly with commercial fisheries. Finally, E. pusillus feeds in various parts of the water column and thus it can access a wide range of prey; however, this also means that it can be caught by both gears, making it more vulnerable in terms of conservation.

Keywords


deep-sea fisheries; elasmobranch; Etmopterus pusillus; feeding ecology; lanternshark

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