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Diet and food partitioning between juveniles of mutton Lutjanus analis, dog Lutjanus jocu and lane Lutjanus synagris snappers (Perciformes: Lutjanidae) in a mangrove-fringed estuarine environment

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Diet of juvenile mutton Lutjanus analis, dog Lutjanus jocu and lane Lutjanus synagris snappers were studied in the tropical Brazilian estuarine system of the Piraquê-açú and Piraquê-mirim Rivers to determine how these species share the resources in this restricted space. The three species prey principally upon Peracarida (L. synagris: relative importance index IRIc = 29%), Natantia (L. analis and L. synagris: IRIc = 39 and 38%, respectively), Reptantia (L. analis and L. jocu: IRIc = 28 and 43%, respectively) and Teleostei (L. jocu: IRIc = 24%). The three species use estuaries as nursery habitats but food overlap was not biologically significant due to a combination of interspecific differences in size, spatial distribution, microhabitat preferences and seasonal patterns of abundance and prey choice. Large marine protected areas incorporating essential habitats for all life stages are suggested to be the best tool for the management of these economically important species.

Keywords: diet overlap; estuary; nursery areas; south-western Atlantic Ocean

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Departamento de Oceanografia e Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Av. Fernando Ferrari, 514 Goiabeiras, 29075-910 Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil

Publication date: June 1, 2010


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