Alternate Title

Food Habitats of Anchovia clupeoides (Pisces: Engraulidae) in the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta, Colombian Caribbean


Food habits of the Zabaleta anchovy Anchovia clupeoides (Swainson, 1839) in the coastal lagoon Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta, northeast Colombia, were examined. A total of 4,389 specimens were captured during monthly collections on a 24-hr basis between Oct. 1995 and June 1996. This species is planktophagous, feeding primarily on copepods and detritus. It also feeds on diatoms throughout the year and is a seasonal consumer of crab zoea, rotifers, and fish eggs. Copepod nauplii, larvae of polychaetes, cyanobacteria, and cladocerans comprise a small percentage of the prey. Biomass of large prey did not differ significantly between the high- and low-salinity season but was significantly different during the intermediate salinity season. The ingestion of the main food items was unaffected by seasonal and diel changes. Although the trophic flexibility of A. clupeoides allows an opportunistic exploitation of a variety of food items, it feeds preferably on copepods and can be considered as a secondary consumer.