Foraging behaviour and prey discrimination in the bluespotted maskray Dasyatis kuhlii

Authors


*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed at present address: Arafura Timor Research Facility, 23 Ellengowan Drive, Brinkin, Darwin 0810, Australia. Tel.: +61 8 89209 9211; fax: +61 8 8920 9222; email: bree.tillett@cdu.edu.au

Abstract

A study observing the foraging behaviours and prey discrimination of a common demersal stingray, the bluespotted maskray Dasyatis kuhlii was performed under controlled laboratory conditions. A selection of prey species and masses were offered at depths of 10 and 50 mm in sand. Foraging efficiency and prey selection at both burial depths were compared. Dasyatis kuhlii selected the ghost shrimps, Trypaea australiensis and T. australiensis >2·5 g, range ± 0·2 g though foraging errors represented by prey being excavated and not consumed suggested a limited discriminatory ability at the point of detection. Burial depth did not influence prey species, mass selection or discriminatory ability.

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