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Corpus Systématique Animale

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Diet of orange roughy, Hoplostethus atlanticus (Pisces: Trachichthyidae) on the Challenger Plateau, New Zealand

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  • E. Rosecchi 1
  • D. M. Tracey 2
  • W. R. Webber 3
  • 1) Marine Laboratory Island Bay, Department of Zoology, Victoria University of Wellington, Private Bag, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 2) Fisheries Research Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, P.O. Box 297, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 3) National Museum of New Zealand, Private Bag, Wellington, New Zealand

Stomach contents of 687 orange roughy [Hoplostethus atlanticus (Collett, 1889)] from the Challenger Plateau, sampled in March, July and November 1984, were examined. The relative importance of different components of the diet was assessed using three feeding indices which combine, in different ways, percentage frequency of occurrence, percentage number, and percentage weight of prey categories. For both sexes, for all size classes and at any time of the year, the most frequent and abundant components of the diet were prawns, followed by fish, squid, amphipods and mysids. The main natant decapod families were Oplophoridae, Pasiphaeidae, and Sergestidae. Fish, mainly Chauliodontidae and Myctophidae, were the most important prey by weight. Most prey species were benthopelagic and mesopelagic organisms which move towards the surface at night. However, H. atlanticus can be caught by bottom trawl (between 750 and 1 200 m) during any 24 h period, and there was no evidence of vertical migration in search of their prey. When the fish grow in length, there is a transition in the diet from prawns, mysids, and fish, to prawns, fish and squid. Squid were not found in the stomach contents of fish smaller than 20 cm. These dietary changes may be linked to modifications in morphology with growth. The relative proportions of the main dietary items, and in particular the natant decapod families, varied with time of the year. Also, the stomach data seem to indicate an increasing importance of fish and squid in the diet in deeper water. H. atlanticus appears to be an opportunistic predator, consuming a wide variety of invertebrates and fishes. Our results provide evidence to support the notion that benthopelagic predators which consume vertically migrating mesopelagic fish, have an important role in the transfer of energy to the benthos.

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  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - biology
  • 3 - marine biology & hydrobiology
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  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
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  • 1 - science ; 2 - marine & freshwater biology
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Marine Biology

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