Alternate Title

Diet Composition of Juvenile Pigfish, Orthopristis chrysoptera (Perciformes: Haemulidae), from the Northern Gulf of Mexico


Diets of 954 juvenile pigfish, Orthopristis chrysoptera, collected from 14 1-m3 concrete block artificial reefs approximately 20 km south of Mobile Bay, AL, were examined. A total of 137 specimens (14.4 %) contained food items and were used to perform stomach content analysis. Index of Relative Importance was used to evaluate the contribution of major foods by combining frequency of occurrence, volume, and number. Diets were dominated by shrimps and polychaetes and, to a much lesser extent, sea anemones, fishes, crustaceans, cephalopods, and gammarids. Many stomachs contained various quantities of sand, which indicated a certain amount of bottom feeding by this species. Two distinct dietary preferences based on fish size were revealed.