Title

Size Related Variability in the Summer Diet of the Blackfin Tuna (Thunnus atlanticus Lesson, 1831) from Tobago, the Lesser Antilles

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2009

Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Abstract

P>Blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) is a small epipelagic oceanic species known only from the western Atlantic. In Tobago, the Lesser Antilles, blackfin tuna is caught by the artisanal fishery. The diet of this species was examined during the summer of 2004 for fish landed at the Charlotteville fish market in Tobago. T. atlanticus ranged from 32 to 91 cm FL (0.7-12.4 kg). Overall numerical abundance of prey items comprised fish (48%), crustaceans (46%) and cephalopods (6%). Prey species included small pelagics such as anchovies (ranked as most important prey overall), juveniles of larger pelagics such as jacks, juveniles of fish found in coral reef communities as adults, e.g. squirrelfishes, and some mesopelagic species. The importance of major diet categories differed significantly with predator size, with fishes becoming more important and crustaceans less important with increasing size of the blackfin tuna. This study has improved our scant knowledge of the blackfin tuna diet in the Lesser Antilles.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Ichthyology

Volume

25

Issue

6

First Page

669

Last Page

675