Feeding ecology of Bathyraja macloviana (Rajiformes, Arhynchobatidae): a polychaete-feeding skate from the South-west Atlantic
Keywords:skates, feeding strategy, polychaetes, niche width, specialist, Argentina
The present paper analyses the diet, feeding strategy and niche width of B. macloviana in a sector of the Argentinean Continental Shelf (ACS). Individuals (n = 147) were collected from 43 sampling stations in late summer and autumn 2001. Thirty one alimentary items in the gut contents were found, with a clear dominance of polychaetes. Crustaceans were secondary alimentary items. The polychaete Travisia kerguelensis was the main food item ingested, followed by Nepthyidae, Sabellidae and Lumbrineridae, while Gammaridae and Cirolanidae were the main items among crustaceans. The niche width and feeding strategy displayed by B. macloviana support the specialisation towards polychaetes throughout this study. Slow motile and infaunal species constitute major preys. The results suggest that this skate actively selects worms, reflecting, in some sense, the composition of the polychaete assemblage, and allowing a low dietary overlap with other sympatric skates of the ACS.
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