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The feeding habits of six pelagic and predatory teleosts in eastern Cape coastal waters (South Africa)



A four-year study of the feeding habits of six pelagic teleost species in eastern Cape coastal waters of South Africa is analysed. These predators are Lichia amia, Pomatomus sallatrix, Seriola lalandi, Atractoscion aequidens, Katsuwonus pelamis and Thunnus albacares. All species occur in inshore coastal water (< 1 -8 km from shore) for at least part of the year. The tunas were also sampled from the edge of the continental shelf (40–50 km from shore). The use of squid ‘beaks' and fish otoliths allowed accurate prey identification and size estimates. Variations in prey taken are attributed to differences in locality, predator species and size. Three pelagic fish species are important to all the predators: Sardinops ocettata, Etrumeus teres and Engraulis capensis. The inshore squid, Loligo reynaudi, is another major prey item. Offshore tuna samples revealed a different prey spectrum, viz. oceanic squid and saury, Scomberesox saurus, being taken frequently.

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