Free Content Diet and Feeding Ecology of the Vermilion Snapper, Rhomboplites Aurorubens (Cuvier) From North Carolina and South Carolina Waters

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The diet of 353 adult and large juvenile vermilion snapper (Rhomboplites aurorubens) collected throughout 1972 and 1973 off the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina consisted mostly of small pelagic organisms. By volume, small pelagic crustacea (ostracods, copepods, stomatopods, amphipods, euphausiids, shrimps, crabs and their larvae) made up 38% of the diet, cephalopods accounted for 37%, pelagic gastropods (pteropods, heteropods, and other opisthobranchs) composed 11%, fish constituted 8.5%, and miscellaneous items (pelagic polychaetes, coelenterates, ctenophores, salps, nematodes, colonial tunicates, and fish eggs) accounted for 5.5%. Variation in diet for different size groups of fish was apparent. By volume, small juveniles (< 100 mm TL) consumed 67% copepods, 10% nematodes, 5% polychaetes, 5% fish scales, 3% ostracods, 3% larval crabs, 3% radiolarians, and 3% fish eggs. Intermediate juveniles (100–175 mm TL) consumed 68% (by volume) fish scales, 14% copepods, 9% cephalopods, and 9% pelagic gastropods, indicating transition in diet toward adults. Scale eating or cleaning habits may be implied. Data inconclusively evinces nocturnal feeding. The pelagic nature of food items clearly demonstrates that vermilion snapper forage in the water column.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1979

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