Alternate Title

Food Habits and Dietary Overlap of Newly Settled Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) and Atlantic Croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) from Texas Seagrass Meadows

Document Type



Food habits and dietary overlap of newly settled larval and juvenile red drum and Atlantic croaker were examined during the period when the two species co-occur in seagrass nurseries. A total of 274 red drum (4.00 - 19.99 mm SL) and 205 Atlantic croaker (8.00 - 17.99 mm SL) were used for this analysis. Of the red drum stomachs examined, 8.4% were empty while 28.8% of Atlantic croaker stomachs contained no food. Major prey items identified for both species were calanoid copepods, harpacticoid copepods and mysid shrimp across all size classes. Ontogenetic trophic niche shifts were detected for red drum and Atlantic croaker. Type and quantity of food ingested by red drum were similar across all stations (Aransas Bay Station: 1H, 2T and 3H) examined. Atlantic croaker ingested the same types of prey at all stations, but contained varying quantities of food throughout the study area. In general, high dietary overlap was observed between red drum and Atlantic croaker with most overlap values (Schoener’s index) exceeding 70%.

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