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Food consumption of five deep-sea fishes in the Balearic Basin (western Mediterranean Sea): are there daily feeding rhythms in fishes living below 1000 m?



Predation and food consumption of five deep-sea fish species living below 1000 m depth in the western Mediterranean Sea were analysed to identify the feeding patterns and food requirements of a deep-sea fish assemblage. A feeding rhythm was observed for Risso's smooth-head Alepocephalus rostratus, Mediterranean grenadier Coryphaenoides mediterraeus and Mediterranean codling Lepidion lepidion. Differences in the patterns of the prey consumed suggest that feeding rhythms at such depths are linked with prey availability. The diets of those predators with feeding rhythms are based principally on active-swimmer prey, including pelagic prey known to perform vertical migrations. The diets of Günther's grenadier Coryphaenoides guentheri and smallmouth spiny eel Polyacanthonotus rissoanus, which did not show any rhythm in their feeding patterns, are based mainly on benthic prey. Food consumption estimates were low (<1% of body wet mass day−1). Pelagic feeding species showing diel feeding rhythms consumed more food than benthic feeding species with no feeding rhythms.