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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2000

Ontogenetic diet shifts of bull-rout, Myoxocephalus scorpius (L.), in the south-western Baltic Sea

Cardinale, Massimiliano


The stomach contents of 533 bull-rout, Myoxocephalus scorpius (L.), were collected during February-March and October-November 1997 in the south-western Baltic Sea in order to study the feeding ecology and investigate diet changes between seasons and with the increasing size of the fish. The isopod Mesidotea entomon, and herring Clupea harengus, were the dominant species in the diet, accounting for 99% in weight of all bull-rout sampled in spring and autumn. Mysis mixta was frequent but less important in weight; analysis of the ontogenetic diet shift showed the presence of M, mixta essentially in the smaller size-classes. Herring was eaten almost exclusively by individuals larger than 21 cm total length; its importance increased with increasing size of bull-rout. The isopod M. entomon was abundant in all size-classes examined. Prey-size and the size of the principal prey, M. entomon, showed a significant increase with increasing bull-rout size. The diet shift from mysids to fish was followed by a change in the weight-length relationship. Cluster analysis confirmed two distinct size groups of > 26 cm and < 24 cm. In conclusion, the data indicate that the diet of bull-rout partially overlaps with that of herring in the first trophic stage, and with that of cod in the second part of the bull-rout life cycle.

Published in

Journal of Applied Ichthyology
2000, Volume: 16, number: 6, pages: 231-239

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    Agricultural Science

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