Prey Selection by the Atlantic Angel Shark Squatina Dumeril in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico
Abstract:Atlantic angel sharks Squatina dumeril (Lesueur, 1818) were collected for stomach content analysis from a trawl fishery in northeastern Florida in the winter (n = 50) and spring (n = 59) of 2005. The trawl catch was also sampled to describe the potential prey items in the environment in relation to stomach contents of angel sharks. Angel sharks consumed teleost fishes most often (62% and 75% numerical abundance), with squid (24% and 12% numerical abundance) and crustaceans (13% and 14% numerical abundance) also important in their diet in the winter and spring, respectively. On both occasions, the samples from the trawl catch showed that jacks (Carangidae, mostly Trachurus lathami Nichols, 1920) were the most frequently caught group of fishes, followed by porgies (Sparidae, mostly Stenotomus caprinus Jordan and Gilbert, 1882), with goatfishes (Mullidae) and butterfishes (Stromateidae) also commonly caught. Angel sharks collected in the winter and spring both showed prey selection for squids, while those collected in the spring also showed selection for scorpionfishes (Scorpaenidae), hakes (Phycidae), and croakers (Sciaenidae). The sizes of prey items from stomach contents were skewed toward smaller fish than those in the trawl catch, however, sizes of prey items were not significantly different from those in the trawl. This study provides the first quantification of diet for the Atlantic angel shark.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2008
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