Feeding habits and population aspects of the spotted goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus (Perciformes: Mullidae), on the continental shelf of northeast Brazil





distribution patterns, stomach content analysis, Brazil, cross-shelf, stable isotopes


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.


Download data is not yet available.


Adams S.M., Kimmel B.L., Ploskey G.R. 1983. Sources of Organic Matter for Reservoir Fish Production: A Trophic-Dynamics Analysis. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 40: 1480-1495. https://doi.org/10.1139/f83-170

Albieri R.J., Araújo F.G. 2010. Reproductive biology of the mullet Mugil liza (Teleostei: Mugilidae) in a tropical Brazilian bay. Soc. Bras. Zool. 27: 331-340. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1984-46702010000300003

Amundsen P.A., Gabler H.M., Staldvik F.J. 1996. A new approach to graphical analysis of feeding strategy from stomach contents data - modification of the Costello (1990) method. J. Fish Biol. 48: 607-614. https://doi.org/10.1006/jfbi.1996.0060

Bertrand A. 2015. ABRACOS Cruise, R/V Antea.

Bertrand A. 2017. ABRACOS 2 Cruise, R/V Antea.

Bohlke J.E., Chaplin C.C. 1968. Fishes of the Bahamas and Adjacent Tropical Waters. University of Texas Press, Texas.

Bonaldo R.M., Pires M.M., Guimarães P.R., et al. 2017. Small Marine Protected Areas in Fiji Provide Refuge for Reef Fish Assemblages, Feeding Groups, and Corals. PLoS One 12: e0170638. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170638 PMid:28122006 PMCid:PMC5266309

Bowen S. 1996. Quantitative Description of the Diet. In: Murphy D.R, Willis D.W. (eds) Fisheries Techniques, American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, pp. 513-532.

Caldwell M.C. 1962. Development and Distribution of Larval and Juvenile Fishes of the Family Mullidae of the Western North Atlantic. Fish. Bull. Fish Wildl. Serv. 62: 403-456. https://doi.org/10.2307/1440910

Campos C.E.C., Oliveira J.E.L. 2001. Caracterização Biométrica e Merística Do Saramunete, Pseudupeneus maculatus (Osteichthyes:Mullidae), Em Ponta de Pedras, Pernambuco. Bol. do Inst. Pesca São Paulo 27: 185-189.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 2014. Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs). Special Places in the World's Oceans. 2nd edition. Recife.

Clarke K.R. 1993. Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Aust. J. Ecol. 18: 117-143. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.1993.tb00438.x

Costa P.A.S., Olavo G., Martins A.S. 2007. Biodiversidade Da Fauna Marinha Profunda Na Costa Central Brasileira. Rio de Janeiro.

Costello M.J. 1990. Predator feeding strategy and prey importance: a new graphical analysis. J. Fish Biol. 36: 261-263. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.1990.tb05601.x

Douvere F., Ehler C.N. 2009. New perspectives on sea use management: initial findings from European experience with marine spatial planning. J. Environ. Manage. 90: 77-88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.07.004 PMid:18786758

Eduardo L.N., Frédou T., Lira A.S., et al. 2018. Identifying key habitat and spatial patterns of fish biodiversity in the tropical Brazilian continental shelf. Cont. Shelf Res. 166: 108-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2018.07.002

Ehler C. 2013. Pan-Arctic Marine Spatial Planning: An Idea Whose Time Has Come. In: Tedsen E., Cavalieri S., et al. (eds), Arctic Marine Governance: Opportunities for Transatlantic Cooperation, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 199-213. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-38595-7_9

Ehler C., Zaucha J., Gee K. 2019. Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning at the Interface of Research and Practice: Past, Present and Future. In: Zaucha J., Gee K. (eds), Maritime Spatial Planning, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98696-8_1

Ferreira B.P., Maida M. 2007. Characteristics and Perspectives for Fishery Management in the Coral Coast Marine Protected Area. In: Prates A.P., Blanc D., Aquatic Protected Areas as Fisheries Management Tools. Empório das Letras, Brasília-MMA/ SBF, pp. 39-63.

Filkovsky G., Springer J.T. 2010. Interactive Use of Barbels by Spotted Goatfish Pseudupeneus maculatus (Bloch, 1793) on the Reef of Bonaire, Lesser Antilles. Open Mar. Biol. J. 4: 122-124. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874450801004010122

Floeter S., Ferreira C., Gasparini J. 2007. Os Efeitos Da Pesca e Da Proteção Através de UC's Marinhas: Três Estudos de Caso e Implicações Para Os Grupos Funcionais de Peixes Recifais No Brasil. Áreas Aquáticas Protegidas como Instrum. Gestão Pesqueira (Brasil. Minnistério do Meio Ambient. org.). MMA, Brasília 4: 183-199.

Fry B. 1988. Food web structure on Georges Bank from stable C, N and S isotopic compositions. Am. Soc. Limnol. Oceanogr. 33: 1182-1190. https://doi.org/10.4319/lo.1988.33.5.1182

Garcia S.M., Zerbi A., Aliaume C., et al. 2003. The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries. Issues, Terminology, Principles, Institutional Foundations, Implementation and Outlook. Rome. Vol. 443.

Golani D. 1994. Niche separation between colonizing and indigenous goatfishes (Mullidae) along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. J. Fish Biol. 45: 503-513. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.1994.tb01332.x

Gómez-Canchong P., Manjarrés L.M., Duarte L.O., et al. 2004. Atlas Pesquero Del Area Norte Del Mar Caribe de Colombia, Universidad del Magadalena, Santa Marta.

Gosline W.A. 1984. Structure, Function, and Ecology in the Goatfishes (Family Mullidae). Pacific Sci. 38: 312-323.

Green B.S. 2008. Chapter 1 Maternal Effects in Fish Populations. Adv. Mar. Biol. 54: 1-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2881(08)00001-1

Hobson E.S. 1974. Feeding Relationship of Teleostean Fishes on Coral Reefs in Kona, Hawaii. Fish. Bull. 72: 915-1031.

Hyslop E.J. 1980. Stomach contents analysis-a review of methods and their application. J. Fish Biol. 17: 411-429. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.1980.tb02775.x

Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA). 2002. Estatística Da Pesca 2000 Brasil: Grandes Regiões e Unidades Da Federação, IBAMA ed. Tamandaré.

Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA). 2008. Estatística Da Pesca 2006 Brasil: Grandes Regiões e Unidades Da Federação, IBAMA ed., Brasília.

Kawakami E., Vazzoler G. 1980. Método gráfico e estimatica de índice alimentar aplicado no estudo de alimentação de peixes. Bol. do Inst. Ocean. 29: 205-207. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0373-55241980000200043

Kenchington E.L. 2003. The effects of fishing on species and genetic diversity. In: Sinclair M., Valdimarsson G. (eds), Responsible fisheries in the marine ecosystem. CABI Publ., Wallingford, pp. 235-253. https://doi.org/10.1079/9780851996332.0235

King M. 2007. Fisheries Biology, Assessment and Management, 2nd ed., Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118688038

Kitsos M.S., Tzomos T., Anagnostopoulou L., et al. 2008. Diet composition of the seahorses, Hippocampus guttulatus Cuvier, 1829 and Hippocampus hippocampus (L., 1758) (Teleostei, Syngnathidae) in the Aegean Sea. J. Fish Biol. 72: 1259-1267. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2007.01789.x

Kolasinski J., Frouin P., Sallon A., et al. 2009. Feeding ecology and ontogenetic dietary shift of yellowstripe goatfish Mulloidichthys flavolineatus (Mullidae) at Reunion Island, SW Indian Ocean. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 386: 181-195. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08081

Krajewski J.P., Bonaldo R.M., Sazima C., et al. 2006. Foraging activity and behaviour of two goatfish species (Perciformes: Mullidae) at Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, tropical West Atlantic. Environ. Biol. Fishes 77: 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-006-9046-z

Kulbicki M., Bozec Y.-M., Labrosse P., et al. 2005. Diet composition of carnivorous fishes from coral reef lagoons of New Caledonia. Aquat. Living Resour. 18: 231-250. https://doi.org/10.1051/alr:2005029

La Mesa G., La Mesa M., Tomassetti P. 2007. Feeding habits of the Madeira rockfish Scorpaena maderensis from central Mediterranean Sea. Mar. Biol. 150: 1313-1320. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-006-0414-1

Leão Z.M.A.N., Kikuchi R.K.P., Ferreira B.P., et al. 2016. Brazilian coral reefs in a period of global change: A synthesis. Brazilian J. Oceanogr. 64: 97-116. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1679-875920160916064sp2

Lessa R.P., Nóbrega M., Bezerra Júnior J.L. 2004. Dinâmica de Populações e Avaliação de Estoques dos Recursos Pesqueiros da Região Nordeste. Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Recife.

Levins R. 1968. Evolution in Changing Environments: Some Theoretical Explorations. Princeton University Press, Princeton. https://doi.org/10.1515/9780691209418 PMid:5742852

Marques S., Ferreira B.P. 2010. Composição e Características Da Pesca de Armadilhas No Litoral Norte de Pernambuco - Brasil. Bol. Técnico Cient. do CEPENE 18: 49-60.

Ministerio do Meio Ambiente (MMA). 2006. Programa REVIZEE. Avaliação Do Potencial Sustentavel de Recursos Vivos Na Zona Economica Exclusiva. Ministerio do Meio Ambiente, Brasilia - DF.

Mondal A., Mitra A. 2016. Growth, Food and Feeding Habit with Prey Preference of Long Whiskered Catfish , Mystus gulio ( Hamilton1822) in Brackishwater Traditional Impoundments of Sundarban, India. Int. J. Fish. Aquat. Stud. 4: 49-58.

Munro J.L. 1976. Aspects of the biology and ecology of Caribbean reef fishes: Mullidae (goat-fishes). J. Fish Biol. 9: 79-97. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.1976.tb04664.x

Munro J.L. 1983. Epilogue: Progress in Coral Reef Fisheries Research: 1973-1982. In: Munro J.L. (ed.), Carribean Coral Reef Fishery Ressources, ICLARM Studies and Review, Manilla, Phillipines, pp. 249-265.

Novaczek E., Howse V., Pretty C., et al. 2017. Limited Contribution of Small Marine Protected Areas to Regional Biodiversity: The Example of a Small Canadian No-Take MPA. Front. Mar. Sci. 4: 174. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2017.00174

Oksanen J., Blanchet F.G., Friendly M., et al. 2019. Vegan: Community Ecology Package.

Oliveira A.K., Alvim M.C., Peret A.C., et al. 2004. Diet shifts related to body size of the Pirambeba Serrasalmus brandtii Lütken, 1875 (Osteichthyes, Serrasalminae) in the Cajuru Reservoir, São Francisco River Basin, Brazil. Brazilian J. Biol. 64: 117-124. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-69842004000100013 PMid:15195370

Olsen E.M., Heino M., Lilly G.R., et al. 2004. Maturation trends indicative of rapid evolution preceded the collapse of northern cod. Nature 428: 932-935. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature02430 PMid:15118724

Perelman J.N., Schmidt K.N., Haro I., et al. 2017. Feeding dynamics, consumption rates and daily ration of wahoo Acanthocybium solandri in Indo-Pacific waters. J. Fish Biol. 90: 1842-1860. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.13270 PMid:28217894

Pinkas L., Oliphant M.S., Iverson I.L.K. 1971. Food Habits of Albacore, Bluefin Tuna, and Bonito In California Waters. Calif. Dep. Fish Game, Fish Bull. 152

Post D.M. 2002. Using Stable Isotopes to Estimate Trophic Postition: Models, Methods and Assumptions. Ecology 83: 703-718. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[0703:USITET]2.0.CO;2

Prates A.P.L., Cordeiro A.Z., Ferreira B.P., Maida M. 2007. Coastal and Marine Sustainable Use Protected Areas as Tools for Fisheries Management. In: Prates A., Blanc D., Aquatic Protected Areas as Fisheries Management Tools. Empório das Letras, Brasília-MMA/ SBF, pp. 25-37.

R Core Team. 2019. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna.

Randall J.E. 1967. Food Habits of Reef Fishes of the West Indies Food Habits of Reef Fishes Of The West. Stud. Trop. Oceanogr. 5: 665-847.

Ribeiro F.P. 2004. Composição Da Biocenose e Abundância Relativa de Peixes Capturados Com Covos Nos Estados Do Rio Grande Do Norte e Pernambuco (Brasil). Bol. Técnico Cient. do CEPENE 12: 113-128.

Ricker W.E. 1975. Computation and Interpretation of Biological Statistics of Fish Population. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Canada 191: 1-382.

Santana F.M., Morize E., Lessa R. 2006. Age and growth of the spotted goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus (Bloch, 1793) in Brazil, validated through marginal increment and oxytetracycline dyes in the sagittae. J. Appl. Ichthyol. 22: 132-137. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0426.2006.00724.x

Sazima C., Krajewski J.P., Bonaldo R.M., et al. 2006. The goatfish Pseudupeneus maculatus and its follower fishes at an oceanic island in the tropical west Atlantic. J. Fish Biol. 69: 883-891. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2006.01166.x

Sazima C., Krajewski J.P., Bonaldo R.M., et al. 2007. Nuclear-follower foraging associations of reef fishes and other animals at an oceanic archipelago. Environ. Biol. Fishes 80: 351-361. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-006-9123-3

Sazima C., Krajewski J.P., Roberta B., et al. 2010. Associações Alimentares Do Tipo Nuclear-Seguidor Entre Peixes e Outros Animais Em Fernando de Noronha. Bol. Soc. Bras. Ictiol. 100: 45-48.

Shanti Prabha Y., Manjulatha C. 2010. Food and Feeding Habits of Upeneus vittatus (Forsskal, 1775) from Visakhapatnam Coast (Andhra Pradesh) of India. Int. J. Zool. Res. 6: 351-355. https://doi.org/10.3923/ijzr.2010.351.355

Sierra L.M., Claro R., Popov O.A. 1994. Alimentacion y Relaciones Tróficas. In: Claro R. (ed.), Ecología de los Peces Marinos de Cuba. Instituto de Oceanología Academia de Ciencias de Cuba and Centro de Investigaciones de Quintana Roo, Mexico, pp. 263-284.

Steiner A.Q., Amaral F.M.D., Amaral J.R.de B.C.do, et al. 2015. Zonação de recifes emersos da Área de Proteção Ambiental Costa dos Corais, Nordeste do Brasil. Iheringia. Série Zool. 105: 184-192. https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-476620151052184192

Tsikliras A.C., Stergiou K.I. 2014. Size at maturity of Mediterranean marine fishes. Rev. Fish Biol. Fish. 24: 219-268. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-013-9330-x

Vanderklift M.A., Ponsard S. 2003. Sources of variation in consumer-diet ?15N enrichment: a meta-analysis. Oecologia 136: 169-182. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-003-1270-z PMid:12802678

Vazzoler A.E.A. 1996. Biologia da reprodução de peixes teleósteos: Teoria e prática. Eduem/SBI/CNPq/Nupelia, Maringá.

Viana A.P., Lucena Frédou F., Frédou T., et al. 2010. Fish fauna as an indicator of environmental quality in an urbanised region of the Amazon estuary. J. Fish Biol. 76: 467-486. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2009.02487.x PMid:20666891

Vital H., Gomes M.P., Tabosa W.F., et al. 2010. Characterization of the Brazilian continental shelf adjacent to Rio Grande do Norte state, NE Brazil. Brazilian J. Oceanogr. 58: 43-54. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1679-87592010000500005

Worm B., Barbier E.B., Beaumont N., et al. 2006. Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services. Science 314: 787-790. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1132294 PMid:17082450

Zavala-Camin L.A. 1996. Introdução aos estudos sobre alimentação natural em peixes, 1st ed.: Editora da Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Maringá.



How to Cite

Soares A, Souza Lira A, Guazzelli Gonzalez J, Nolé Eduardo L, Lucena-Frédou F, Le Loc’h F, Padovani Ferreira B, Frédou T. Feeding habits and population aspects of the spotted goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus (Perciformes: Mullidae), on the continental shelf of northeast Brazil. scimar [Internet]. 2020Jun.30 [cited 2022Aug.12];84(2):119-31. Available from: https://scientiamarina.revistas.csic.es/index.php/scientiamarina/article/view/1854




Most read articles by the same author(s)