Alternate Title

Feeding Habits of Dwarf Goatfish (Upeneus parvus: Mullidae) on the Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico


Feeding habits of dwarf goatfish on the continental shelf off Alvarado, Veracruz, Mexico, were analyzed to determine seasonal variation and size-class changes in diet composition and trophic overlap between size classes. Food was found in 63% of the 1,437 dwarf goatfish guts analyzed. The 52 dietary items identified consisted mainly of crustaceans, with Solenocera vioscai being the most important prey. Dwarf goatfish exhibited seasonal and size-class changes in prey consumption. Despite the high number of prey items, low values of diversity and diet breadth were found in the trophic spectrum. A high trophic overlap between size classes was observed in the north-winds season between length classes (92-111 vs 112-130 mm) (λ = 0.81) and (92-111 vs 131-150 mm) (λ = 0.80), and (112-131 vs 131-150 mm) (λ = 0.67). In the rainy season high overlaps were obtained between (92-111 vs 112-131 min) (λ = 0.73) and (112-131 vs 131-150 mm) (λ = 0.84) length classes. Dwarf goatfish appear to be opportunistic carnivorous predators that impact benthic and epibenthic invertebrates.