Feeding habits and dietary overlap during the larval development of two sandperches (Pisces: Pinguipedidae)
Keywords:Prolatilus jugularis, Pinguipes chilensis, sandperch, feeding, resource partitioning, Chile
Two species of sandperch (Pinguipedidae: Perciformes), Prolatilus jugularis and Pinguipes chilensis, inhabit the coastal waters of the South Pacific. Both species have pelagic larvae with similar morphology, but their diet preferences are unknown. Diet composition, feeding success, trophic niche breadth and dietary overlap were described during larval stages for both species. In the austral spring, larval P. jugularis (3.83-10.80 mm standard length [SL]) and P. chilensis (3.49-7.71 mm SL) during their first month of life had a high feeding incidence ( > 70%) and fed mostly on copepod nauplii ( > 80% IRI), Rhincalanus nasutus metanauplii and Paracalanus indicus copepodites. The number of prey ingested was low (mean: 4-5 prey per gut) and independent of larval size; total prey volume and maximum prey width increased as larvae grew. Mouth opening and ingested prey were greater in larval P. jugularis than in P. chilensis, leading to significant differences in prey composition among larval species, in terms of prey number and volume. Pearre’s trophic niche breadth was narrow for both species (0.159±0.07 for P. jugularis; 0.156±0.03 for P. chilensis) and independent of larval size. Dietary overlap was high inter- and intra-species in larvae with a mouth gape < 900 μm. These results suggest the relative importance of both larval species as primary consumers of the pelagic web in nearshore environments of rocky temperate areas.
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