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Research article2002Peer reviewed

Fish feeding guilds in shallow rocky and soft bottom areas on the Swedish west coast

Wennhage, Håkan; Pihl, Leif


Multivariate analyses of the diet relationships within fish assemblages resulted in the recognition of five major feeding guilds in shallow (0-9m) rocky- and soft-bottom habitats on the Swedish west coast. The two habitats had similar guilds that could be broadly described as piscivores, decapod feeders, copepod feeders and amphipod and mollusc feeders. The last guild on the rocky bottom was more strictly one of amphipod feeders, whereas the last guild on soft bottoms consisted of infauna feeders (mainly polychaetes and bivalves). A comparison of the diet of the entire fish assemblages showed that amphipods and gastropods were more prevalent as prey taxa on rocky bottoms, whereas bivalves and teleosts were more common on soft bottoms. A large proportion (12 out of 27 species) of the fish species investigated was found in both habitats. These fish species generally seemed to rely on the same major prey groups in the two habitats, but also included prey taxa characteristic for the habitat in which they resided. Sea trout Sahno trutta, mackerel Scombrus scombrus, saithe Pollachius virens, whiting Merlangius merlangus and cod Gadus niorhua were found to be the major piscivores in both the investigated habitats. Herring Clupea harengus and members of the family gobiidae were the most prevalent prey species for piscivores within the rocky- as well as the soft-bottom fish assemblage. A comparison of feeding modes suggested that the fish assemblage on rocky bottoms predominantly (60% of the food items) relied on food found in vegetation. On soft bottoms, the average distribution of food categories among fish species was 44% benthic, 35% pelagic and 21 % vegetation-associated food items. (C) 2002 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


feeding guild; fish assemblage; stomach content; Skagerrak; piscivory; habitat

Published in

Journal of Fish Biology
2002, Volume: 61, pages: 207-228

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