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Free Content Feeding Ecology of the Schoolmaster Snapper, Lutjanus Apodus (Walbaum), from Southwestern Puerto Rico

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Stomach contents from 449 schoolmaster snapper, Lutjanus apodus, from southwestern Puerto Rico were examined. Hierarchical cluster analysis identified two primary trophic groups: ≤70 mm FL and >70 mm FL. Small L. apodus (≤70 mm) fed almost exclusive]y on crustaceans (89% by weight; 95% by number; 98% frequency of occurrence), particularly amphipods and crabs. By contrast, L. apodus greater than 70 mm preferred piscine prey (57% by weight; 37% by number; 63% frequency of occurrence) and supplemented their diets with crabs, shrimp, and stomatopods. Ontogenetic patterns in diet were related to changes in jaw morphology (i.e., gape dimensions). Moreover, spatial and temporal variations were size-related and appeared to play some role in structuring the diet of L. apodus. Small L. apodus (≤70 mm) were found only in mangrove prop-root habitats and showed peak feeding at midday, Larger L. apodus (>70 mm) were present in both mangrove and coral reef habitats and showed little variation in diurnal feeding periodicity. Prey selection patterns of L. apodus were influenced by habitat and season.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1995-05-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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