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Food Contents of Six Commercial Fishes from Mississippi Sound

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Specific dietary contents from six fishes collected in Mississippi Sound are recorded. In order of their importance, primary components grouped in major taxonomic categories were fishes, penaeid shrimps, and other crustaceans for Cynoscion nebulosus; Crustaceans and fishes for C. arenarius; fishes and crustaceans for C. nothus; crustaceans, pelecypods, and polychaetes for Pogonias cromis; crustaceans, molluscs, polychaetes, and fishes for Archosargus probatocephalus; and fishes and penaeid shrimps for Paralichthys lethostigma. Principal items in the diets of most of the fishes included Anchoa mitchilli, Penaeus aztecus, P. setiferus, and Callinectes sapidus. Those crustaceans show that competition exists for commercial shellfishes in Mississippi Sound. Ratios among the different dietary items vary, according at least to species of fish, length of fish, season, specific location, and abundance of available prey. Some of these variations are documented and are additionally related to selected findings by other authors sampling different localities. We suggest that examination of food items in Archosargus probatocephalus can serve as a practical means to sample and assess seasonal prevalence and abundance of a wide range of invertebrates throughout different habitats in Mississippi Sound and elsewhere.

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