Journal Article

Sources of variation in the feeding ecology of the piked spurdog (<i>Squalus megalops</i>): implications for inferring predator–prey interactions from overall dietary composition

J. Matías Braccini, Bronwyn M. Gillanders and Terence I. Walker

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 6, pages 1076-1094
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2005.04.004
Sources of variation in the feeding ecology of the piked spurdog (Squalus megalops): implications for inferring predator–prey interactions from overall dietary composition

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Sources of variation in dietary composition were examined in the piked spurdog (Squalus megalops). The species is an opportunistic predator that consumes a wide range of prey items. When importance of prey was measured by weight or occurrence, S. megalops preyed largely on molluscs and teleosts. However, when number of prey was considered, the main items were crustaceans. A bootstrap analysis showed that considerable variability can be expected in the importance of prey items in the species' overall diet. Regional, seasonal, and ontogenetic differences in dietary composition were found, but there were no differences between mature and immature sharks or between males and females. The spatial and temporal variation in diet exhibited by S. megalops and the intrinsic natural variability of the dietary composition of this opportunistic predator suggest that studies that infer predator–prey interactions from overall diet are likely to miss information on the ecological relationships among species and thus account for only part of these interactions.

Keywords: Australia; diet; predator–prey interactions; shark; variation

Journal Article.  9441 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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