Xiphias gladius diet in the Florida Straits
Swordfish Xiphias gladius inhabit the Florida Straits year-round and provide a significant role in the food web as top-level predators. However, little is known about the diet composition and thus ecological role of swordfish in Florida. This study investigated swordfish diet
by analyzing stomach contents of 131 swordfish in the Florida Straits from April 2007 to December 2008. Identifiable species included 13 teleost species, 3 cephalopod species, and 1 crustacean species. Cephalopods dominated the swordfish diet by weight (72.4%) and number (69.9%), and ranked
highest in importance in the diet by the index of relative importance (IRI; 81.5%). Teleosts occurred the most (99.1%) but represented the second highest importance in diet by weight (25.2%), number (26.3%), and IRI (17.6%). Illex sp. was the prey with the greatest dietary importance,
followed by unidentifiable ommastrephid squids. Stomach fullness index values ranged from 0 (empty) to 8.98 (mean = 0.37). A positive significant correlation between swordfish length and prey length was found (r
2 = 0.104, P = 0.037), and no significant correlations
were found between swordfish weight and prey weight (r
2 = –0.075, P = 0.065). This is the first study to report a comprehensive diet of swordfish inhabiting waters in the Florida Straits region and suggests swordfish may be opportunistic feeders, altering their
diet when abundance or presence of prey changes.
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Document Type: Research Article
Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004; Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, 7 Old Solomons Island Road, Suite 200, Annapolis,
Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004
Coastal Carolina University, 100 Chanticleer Drive, Conway, South Carolina 29528
Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004;, Email: [email protected]
October 1, 2020
This article was made available online on March 26, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Swordfish Xiphias gladius diet in the Florida Straits".
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