Feeding Ecology of the Schoolmaster Snapper, Lutjanus Apodus (Walbaum), from Southwestern Puerto Rico
Abstract: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.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 1995
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