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Contribution to the feeding ecology of the predatory wingfin anchovy Pterengraulis atherinoides (L.) in north Brazilian mangrove creeks

Authors

  • U. Krumme,

    1. Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, Bremen, Germany
    2. Zoological Institute and Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
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  • H. Keuthen,

    1. Laboratory of Ecology and Management of Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems, Departemento de Oceanografia – UFPE, Cidade Universitaria, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
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  • M. Barletta,

    1. Laboratory of Ecology and Management of Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems, Departemento de Oceanografia – UFPE, Cidade Universitaria, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
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  • W. Villwock,

    1. Zoological Institute and Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
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  • U. Saint-Paul

    1. Laboratory of Ecology and Management of Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems, Departemento de Oceanografia – UFPE, Cidade Universitaria, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
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Author's address: Uwe Krumme, Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Fahrenheitstr. 6, D-28359 Bremen, Germany.
E-mail: uwe.krumme@zmt-bremen.de

Summary

Stomach contents were examined from 136 Amazonian wingfin anchovy, Pterengraulis atherinoides (Engraulidae), caught from intertidal mangrove creeks at diurnal neap tides between June and September 1997 (early dry season) near Bragança (northern Brazil). The study found that P. atherinoides are specialized predators of juvenile Natantia and Teleostei (mean: 67 and 28% by dry weight, respectively). On average, 5.2 g ha−1 day−1 of Natantia and 2.6 g ha−1 day−1 of Teleostei (wet weight) were eaten by P. atherinoides. Diet changed with fish size as well as by month. While smaller sizes still fed on several food items (e.g. the copepod Pseudiaptomus marshii, the brachyuran crab Pachygrapsus gracilis, amphipods), fish >13 cm standard length (SL) fed exclusively on Natantia and Teleostei. Copepods were especially abundant in July and August, dominating the diet of fish <9 cm SL in numbers (92%). Our results suggest a positive relationship between predator size and prey size, both in penaeid and piscine prey. However, the largest predator size class apparently selected fewer but larger Teleostei prey. More than 64% of Natantia were juvenile penaeid shrimps of commercial importance (Fenneropenaeus subtilis, F. schmitti, Xiphopenaeus kroyeri). Comparison with ichthyoplankton samples taken simultaneously showed that Sciaenidae and Mugilidae were positively selected while Gobiidae and Engraulidae were negatively selected. The presence of pranzia larvae in the stomachs of fish <10 cm SL, from July onward, suggests that these sizes fulfil a mutually beneficial ‘cleaning’ function on other fish. Block net sampling at neap tides showed that P. atherinoides were present in intertidal mangrove creeks throughout the submergence period, suggesting temporal optimization of the foraging time in the eulittoral.

Ancillary