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Feeding ecology of the American freshwater goby Ctenogobius shufeldti (Gobiidae, Perciformes) in a sub‐tropical estuary

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The feeding ecology of the American freshwater goby Ctenogobius shufeldti in a low salinity salt‐marsh habitat in the Paranagu√° Bay estuarine complex (Brazil) was assessed through the gut analysis of 632 individuals. The effects of a set of abiotic factors (type of sediment, salinity, temperature and estuarine reach), season and body size on dietary composition were analysed. Seasonal and size‐related changes in feeding strategy, feeding intensity and trophic level were assessed. The effects of gape and body size on prey size use were also analysed. The results showed that C. shufeldti is a typical omnivorous, generalized benthic predator of low trophic levels throughout the seasons and size classes, feeding on 56 dietary items; tanaids, chlorophyte algae, ostracods, gastropods, detritus and benthic diatoms made up the bulk of its diet. The tanaid Kalliapseudes schubarti was the main prey item in both numerical and volumetric terms. The gut fullness was persistently high across the seasons. As expected for a typical generalized, opportunistic omnivorous feeder: (1) seasonal and spatial‐temporal variability of abiotic factors had a significant effect on diet structure, (2) season accounted for most of the dietary variation and (3) diet composition and the size of prey consumed did not vary across the size classes.

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2012.03300.x

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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