The feeding ecology of 0 year-group turbot Scophthalmus maximus and brill Scophthalmus rhombus on Irish west coast nursery grounds


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On sandy beach nursery grounds along the west coast of Ireland, 0 year-group turbot Scophthalmus maximus were found to consume six types of crustaceans, in addition to polychaetes. The 0 year-group brill Scophthalmus rhombus fed almost exclusively on mysids, even though nine taxonomic prey groups were identified in the sediment across the investigated beaches. Both species avoided non-motile organisms such as gastropods and bivalves, which were present in high abundances in the sediment and their growth and condition was not significantly related to the quantity or type of prey consumed, temperature or salinity. A high incidence of feeding was detected for both species over the duration of the study, suggesting that food was not limiting on west of Ireland nursery grounds. Temporal partitioning of settlement was detected between S. maximus and S. rhombus, indicating that inter-specific competition for food does not occur between these two flatfish species on west of Ireland nursery grounds.