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Ontogenetic changes in the feeding habits of the abalone Haliotis discus hannai: field verification by stable isotope analyses

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The ontogenetic changes in the feeding habits of the abalone Haliotis discus hannai were elucidated for the first time in natural habitats using stable isotope analyses. Abalone individuals were grouped into three developmental stages: small juveniles (<10mm shell length (SL)), large juveniles (10–50mm SL), and adults (>50mm SL). The inferences of natural diets indicated that benthic diatoms, small red macroalgae and (or) juvenile brown macroalgae, and adult brown macroalgae were the primary food sources for small juveniles (6.5± 1.0mm SL), large juveniles (23.7± 6.1mm SL), and adults (81.8± 14.3mm SL), respectively. The changes of 13C in abalone were similar among three sampling stations and were explained by ontogenetic changes in feeding habits. The decrease of 13C in abalone (≤20mm SL) indicated a transition from diatom feeding to juvenile brown macroalgae and (or) small red macroalgae feeding, whereas the subsequent increase of 13C (>20mm SL) represented a feeding transition to adult brown macroalgae. These results prove the hypothesis of the ontogenetic changes in the feeding habits of the abalone H. discus hannai.

Des analyses d’isotopes stables ont permis de décrire pour la première fois dans des habitats naturels les changements ontogéniques des habitudes alimentaires d’un ormeau (Haliotis discus hannai). Les ormeaux individuels ont été regroupés en trois stades de développement, les petits juvéniles (<10 mm de longueur de coquille (SL)), les grands juvéniles (10–50 mm de SL) et les adultes (>50 mm de SL). La déduction des régimes alimentaires naturels indique que les diatomées benthiques, les macroalgues rouges de petite taille et (ou) les jeunes macroalgues brunes et les macroalgues brunes adultes constituent les sources principales de nourriture respectivement des petits juvéniles (6,5 ± 1,0 mm de SL), des grands juvéniles (23,7 ± 6,1 mm de SL) et des adultes (81,8 ± 14,3 mm de SL). Les modifications de 13C chez les ormeaux sont semblables aux trois stations d’échantillonnage et s’expliquent par des changements ontogéniques dans les habitudes alimentaires. La diminution de 13C chez les ormeaux (≤20 mm de SL) indique une transition d’une alimentation à base de diatomées vers une consommation de macroalgues rouges de petite taille et (ou) de jeunes macroalgues brunes, alors que l’augmentation subséquente de 13C (>20 mm de SL) représente une transition vers les algues brunes adultes. Ces résultats confirment l’hypothèse de l’existence de changements ontogéniques dans les habitudes alimentaires de l’ormeau H. discus hannai.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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