Scientia Marina, Vol 72, No 1 (2008)

Feeding ecology of the transparent goby Aphia minuta (Pisces, Gobiidae) in the northwestern Adriatic Sea


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2008.72n199

Mario La Mesa
ISMAR-CNR, Istituto di Scienze Marine, Sezione di Ancona, Italy

Diego Borme
OGS, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Dipartimento di Oceanografia Biologica, Italy

Valentina Tirelli
OGS, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Dipartimento di Oceanografia Biologica, Italy

Elena Di Poi
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Trieste, Italy

Sara Legovini
OGS, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Dipartimento di Oceanografia Biologica, Italy

Serena Fonda Umani
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Trieste, Italy

Abstract


The feeding ecology of the transparent goby Aphia minuta was examined in spring (May 2003) in the coastal waters off Comacchio, in the northwestern Adriatic Sea. Stomach content analysis indicated A. minuta to be a planktivorous species, feeding exclusively on pelagic invertebrates. The diet composition was dominated by the calanoid copepods Acartia clausi and Temora longicornis, followed in decreasing order of importance by other copepods (especially calanoids and Oncaea spp.) and larvae of decapods, polychaetes and bivalves. A. minuta exhibited a generalistic feeding strategy with a relatively broad niche width. Abundant taxa in the environment, such as A. clausi and T. longicornis, were seldom selected, whereas rare taxa, such as larvae of polychaetes and decapods, were highly selected. According to the observed ontogenetic shift in diet, small-size individuals relied preferentially on juvenile T. longicornis and Oncaea spp., whereas large-sized specimens consumed preferably A. clausi and calanoids. The positive relationship found between prey and fish size may help to mitigate the intraspecific competition for food resources.

Keywords


diet; feeding selectivity; transparent goby; copepods; Adriatic Sea

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