Reef Fish Stomach Contents and Prey Abundance on Reef and Sand Substrata Associated with Adjacent Artificial and Natural Reefs in Onslow Bay, North Carolina
We compared the relative importance of reef and sand substrata stomach contents and prey resources at adjacent artificial (AR) and natural reefs (NR) for three reef fishes: black sea bass, Centropristis striata; cubbyu, Pareques umbrosus; and scup, Stenotomus chrysops. There were no differences in the reef vs. sand prey numbers for black sea bass, however, there were significantly more sand bottom prey in the stomach contents of black sea bass at the NR vs. the AR. Differences between sand vs. reef categories for scup showed no significant difference at either reef. Comparisons between reefs for each of the prey habitat categories for the cubbyu and scup also reveal no statistically significant differences. Cubbyu consume more sand bottom vs. reef prey, but this difference is statistically significant only at the NR. Use of eleven “indicator” prey taxa for reef and sand substrata prey suggests that black sea bass use the reef prey taxa to a significantly higher degree at each reef. Cubbyu and scup show no significant differences in the ranking of selected reef or sand bottom prey at either reef. Electivity indices for each species at both artificial and natural reefs support these results. Our data imply that sand substrata organisms around reefs should be carefully considered as potentially important prey supporting reef fishes.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1994-09-01
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