Rhythmic diel movements of pandalid shrimps in the western Mediterranean continental shelf and upper slope


Jacopo Aguzzi, Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain. Tel: +34 93 2309550; Fax: +34 93 2309555
Email: jaguzzi@icm.csic.es


In marine ecosystems, information on diel rhythmic movements of species is of importance to characterize temporal changes in the community structure. In this sense, patterns of bottom trawl catches of the pandalid caridean shrimps Chlorotocus crassicornis, Plesionika gigliolii and Plesionika martia were analysed, as a proxy of the timing and duration of their presence on the seabed, close to the autumn equinox (October) and the summer solstice (June) on the continental shelf (100 m) and the upper slope (400 m). The size structure of catches was also studied for each species to assess the possible occurrence of a modulation of rhythmic movements during ontogeny. Data showed marked diel patterns of catchability on the bottom in association with light intensity cycles in both sampling seasons and depths. Chlorotocus crassicornis on the shelf showed nocturnal peaks in catches. On the slope, Pl. gigliolii showed mainly a higher catchability at dusk and dawn, whereas the catchability of Pl. martia was mainly higher during the day time. Juveniles and adults of Pl. gigliolii and Pl. martia showed ontogenetic differences in their occurrence patterns. This phenomenon is discussed by comparing the reported catchability patterns with those of some prey species that also show rhythmic behaviour in association with the day–night cycle.