Variability in conspecific predation among longnose lancetfish Alepisaurus ferox in the western Indian Ocean


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ABSTRACT:  Conspecific predation among longnose lancetfish Alepisaurus ferox was investigated in four spatio-temporal strata of the western Indian Ocean. The cannibalism level varied from 0 to 45.5% by frequency of occurrence and was negatively related with abundance of non-evasive prey (such as crustaceans Charybdis smithii and Natosquilla investigatoris) and foraging success. Predation by lancetfish is often described as a non-selective process, constrained by local prey availability and by its feeding speed during an attack of prey. Our results show that lancetfish may adapt its opportunistic foraging behavior, feeding on non-conspecific abundant prey such as crustaceans when available, and switching to a high level of conspecific predation in poor waters.