Alternate Title

Flexible Feeding Strategies of Juvenile Gray Triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) and Planehead Filefish (Stephanolepis hispidus) Within Sargassum Habitat

Document Type



Sargassum-associated juvenile gray triggerfish and planehead filefish exhibited flexible feeding strategies in terms of their use of epifauna or pelagic zooplankton. Four diet samples represented instances of co-occurrence and segregated occurrence. Co-occurring gray triggerfish had the most specialized diets consisting mainly of pelagic copepods and hyperiid amphipods. Conversely, segregated triggerfish as well as both co-occurring and segregated filefish had broader diets mainly consisting of Sargassum epifauna, such as bryozoans, portunid crabs, and hippolytid shrimp. Still, co-occurring planehead filefish also consumed somewhat more zooplankton than segregated planehead filefish. Ontogenetic diet transitions were not as distinct for gray triggerfish as for planehead filefish. Our study demonstrates that juvenile tetradonts can be flexible in their use of benthic versus pelagic feeding strategies. Consequently, the influence of these key consumers on Sargassum food webs may vary spatiotemporally.

First Page


Last Page