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Variation in the diet of Genypterus blacodes(Ophidiidae) around the Falkland Islands

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Abstract:

The diet change with size, season and area was investigated using the stomachs of 496 kingclip Genypterus blacodes collected around the Falkland Islands (south‐west Atlantic) between August 2001 and September 2002. The key prey species were rockcod Patagonotothen spp., benthic isopods and Patagonian grenadier Macruronus magellanicus. Kingclip <50 cm total length (LT) fed mainly on crustaceans and small fishes. With size the diet shifted away from crustaceans towards Patagonotothen spp. in kingclip 50–100 cm LT, and finally towards larger fishes such as M. magellanicus and Micromesistius australis australis in kingclip >100 cm LT. The niche breadth was highest in fish >100 cm LT and the lowest in fish <50 cm LT. The larger kingclip generally selected larger individuals of the same prey species, with the exception of the Patagonian squid Loligo gahi, where all ingested squid were of similar size, regardless of the predator length. The importance of the main prey species varied substantially between five consequent seasons studied, and appeared to follow the seasonal abundance and availability of prey. The spatial variability in the diet was found in kingclip caught in regions occupied by transformed temperate and sub‐Antarctic waters. The rockcod, which is available throughout the year around the Falkland Islands, was the most important prey in the kingclip diet. Kingclip takes advantage of other seasonally abundant prey species during their seasonal migrations (e.g. L. gahi) and also scavenge on discards from fishing vessels when available.

Keywords: Falkland Islands; Genypterus blacodes; diet; discards; feeding; south‐west Atlantic

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-1112.2004.00476.x

Affiliations: Falkland Islands Government Fisheries Department, P. O. Box 598, Stanley, Falkland Islands

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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