Behavior of Sandeels Feeding on Herring Larvae
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2010
First Page: 164
Last Page: 168
Publisher Id: TOFISHSJ-3-164
Article History:Received Date: 15/10/2009
Revision Received Date: 19/05/2010
Acceptance Date: 19/05/2010
Electronic publication date: 27/8/2010
Collection year: 2010
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
It is a common problem in ecosystem studies that information about predation on fish larvae is extremely sparse. There is little information about agents of mortality. This is likely to be because fish larvae are digested very rapidly in a predator's stomach. This study describes controlled experiments designed to evaluate the potential role of small low-trophic level fishes as predators on pelagic fish larvae. The study shows that sandeels, Ammodytes marinus, prefer herring larvae to copepods, their normal food items. When herring larvae are available the sandeels change behavior, their swimming speed increases drastically, and copepods are almost totally excluded from the diet. Once eaten, the herring larvae are only identifiable in the sandeel guts for 15-30 minutes using morphological criteria. It is concluded that abundant low-trophic level fishes potentially may have considerable impact on other fish species, even those that are normally not assumed to be predators on the low-trophic level fishes themselves.