Feeding habits of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus (L. 1758), in the central Mediterranean Sea (Strait of Messina)

Battaglia, Pietro, Andaloro, Franco, Consoli, Pierpaolo, Esposito, Valentina, Malara, Danilo, Musolino, Simona, Pedà, Cristina, and Romeo, Teresa (2013) Feeding habits of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus (L. 1758), in the central Mediterranean Sea (Strait of Messina). Helgoland Marine Research, 67 (1). pp. 97-107.

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Abstract

The study of feeding habits of the Atlantic bluefin tuna was carried out in 123 specimens, ranging from 115 to 222 cm fork length (FL) and collected during spring seasons of 2010 and 2011 in the central Mediterranean Sea (Strait of Messina). The analysis of stomach contents allowed us to identify 91 taxa of prey items, mainly belonging to Teleostea (54), Cephalopoda (20) and Crustacea (13). The percentage of index of relative abundance (IRI) shows the highest values for the myctophid Hygophum benoiti (%IRI = 22.854) and the stomiid Chauliodus sloani (%IRI = 15.124), followed by the oegopsid squid Illex coindetii (%IRI = 14.316). The broad spectrum of prey items could suggest a generalist behavior of this predator, with several species that occasionally occurs in its diet. However, if prey are grouped into food categories, the importance of mesopelagic and benthopelagic fishes can be appreciated (54.41 % of %IRI). The assessment of the hypothetical foraging rhythm of the Atlantic bluefin tuna highlighted that its feeding activity is concentrated on diel migrating fauna during night and on larger preys upon daylight. The predation on the high-energetic food as mesopelagic and bathypelagic fishes during the pre-spawning and the spawning period may bring an energetic advantage in tuna metabolism and gonadal maturation.

Item ID: 46343
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1438-3888
Keywords: diet, Scombridae, Thunnus thynnus, feeding ecology, Mediterranean sea
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2016 04:58
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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