Ontogenetic and spatiotemporal variability in anchoveta Engraulis ringens diet off Peru



In this study, historical data available since 1954 were used to get new insight to ontogenetic and spatiotemporal variability in Peruvian anchovy or anchoveta Engraulis ringens diet. Whatever the period, E. ringens foraged mainly on macrozooplankton and the importance of euphausiids in E. ringens diet appears directly related to euphausiids abundance. This bottom-up effect is also observed at smaller scale because the euphausiids fraction increased with E. ringens total length and euphausiids accessibility. Selecting the largest prey, the euphausiids, provides an energetic advantage for E. ringens in its ecosystem where oxygen depletion imposes strong metabolic constraints on pelagic fishes. This study illustrates the plasticity of E. ringens that allows it to cope with its highly variable environment.