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


  • Mario La Mesa ISMAR-CNR, Istituto di Scienze Marine, Sezione di Ancona
  • Diego Borme OGS, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Dipartimento di Oceanografia Biologica
  • Valentina Tirelli OGS, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Dipartimento di Oceanografia Biologica
  • Elena Di Poi Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Trieste
  • Sara Legovini OGS, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Dipartimento di Oceanografia Biologica
  • Serena Fonda Umani Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Trieste




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


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.


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How to Cite

La Mesa M, Borme D, Tirelli V, Di Poi E, Legovini S, Fonda Umani S. Feeding ecology of the transparent goby Aphia minuta (Pisces, Gobiidae) in the northwestern Adriatic Sea. Sci. mar. [Internet]. 2008Mar.30 [cited 2024May26];72(1):99-108. Available from: https://scientiamarina.revistas.csic.es/index.php/scientiamarina/article/view/760