Temporal variations in the diet of pearly razorfish Xyrichtys novacula (Osteichthyes: Labridae)

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The diet of pearly razorfish Xyrichtys novacula, caught monthly along the shores of the Island of Lampedusa, appeared to be mainly composed of crustaceans, followed by colonial ascidians, molluscs and polychaetes. Among prey, sand dwellers and phanerogam-associated species were recorded. In winter months, the diet was characterized by a small number of prey items, dominated by colonial ascidians, while in spring and summer a wider prey array was recorded. Dietary indices show that X. novacula do not strictly exploit benthic prey but also pelagic organisms, such as copepods. This feeding behaviour reached its peak in March and October, when the abundance of primary consumers was at its highest after phytoplankton blooms. Furthermore, X. novacula caught prey organisms according to their availability and seasonal patterns during their life cycles, irrespective of fish size.

Keywords: Lampedusa Island; Straits of Sicily; feeding ecology; ontogenetic shifts; seasonal patterns

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2010.02599.x

Affiliations: 1: ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research), via Salvatore Puglisi 9, 90143 Palermo, Italy 2: ISPRA, via di Casalotti 300, 00166 Rome, Italy 3: Via P. Nenni 50, 97100 Ragusa, Italy 4: Corso Umberto 90, 92027 Licata (Ag), Italy

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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