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Content loaded within last 14 days Swordfish Xiphias gladius diet in the Florida Straits

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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

Affiliations: 1: 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, Maryland 21401 2: Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004 3: Coastal Carolina University, 100 Chanticleer Drive, Conway, South Carolina 29528 4: Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 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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  • 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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