Alternate Title

Trophic Relationships of Fishes Occurring Within a Surf Zone Habitat in the Northern Gulf of Mexico


We studied trophic relationships of Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus), gulf kingfish (Menticirrhus littoralis), scaled sardine (Harengula jaguana), striped anchovy (Anchoa hepsetus) and dusky anchovy (A. lyolepis) during their spring residency in the Horn Island, Mississippi, surf zone. Harengula jaguana, A. lyolepis and A. hepsetus were zooplanktivores, utilizing primarily calanoid copepods, mysids and various decapod larvae. Menticirrhus littoralis and T. carolinus utilized benthic prey including Donax, Emerita and polychaetes; however, small pompano also fed on zooplankton. Menticirrhus littoralis, T. carolinus, H. jaguana and A. lyolepis also showed distinct dietary changes with increasing fish size. Three species, A. lyolepis, H. jaguana and M. littoralis fed at least partially at night, while T. carolinus and A. hepsetus were primarily diurnal predators. Cluster analysis of size intervals of all species based on presence or absence of prey taxa formed groups consistent with taxonomic relationships, thus indicating considerable interspecific resource separation.