Feeding Ecology of Spottail Pinfish (Diplodus Holbrooki) from an Artificial and Natural Reef in Onslow Bay, North Carolina
Abstract:The purpose of this study is to compare diet composition and sources for spottail pinfish (Diplodus holbrooki) from adjacent innershelf artificial and natural reefs located 8 km off-shore in Onslow Bay, North Carolina. Different size classes of spottail pinfish, season of capture (spring or summer), and prey habitat (hardbottom, softbottom or planktonic) were compared for each reef. Spottail pinfish had an overall omnivorous diet of 50% benthic algae, 30% benthic animals, 15% planktonic animals and 5% miscellaneous animal prey, by volume. Seasonal variation in diet was apparent. More planktonic food items and crustaceans were eaten in the spring and diet shifted to include more algae and benthic foods in the summer. There was no difference in the amount of algae eaten by fish of different size classes though larger fish consumed less planktonic foods and smaller fish consumed more benthic foods. The diets of 96 spottail pinfish (60–160 mm SL) at the artificial and natural reef show 88% similarity. While some food items (bryozoans, amphipods) differed significantly between reefs, the proportion of prey types (benthic animal, algae, planktonic animal) in the diet were not different overall between reefs. Prey associated with softbottom habitats were a minor (<1% total diet) part of the diet.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 1994
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