Feeding ecology of Symbolophorus californiensis larvae Teleostei Myctophidae in the southern transition region of the western North Pacific
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 90(6): 1249-1256
ISSN/ISBN: 0025-3154 DOI: 10.1017/s0025315409990464
The feeding habits of myctophid larvae of Symbolophorus californiensis were examined in the southern transition region of the western North Pacific where the main spawning and nursery grounds of S. californiensis are formed. This species is a key component of the pelagic ecosystems of this region, and their larvae attain one of the largest sizes among myctophids. To analyse gut contents larvae, including most life history stages after yolk-sac absorption (3.7 to 22.2 mm body length (BL)), were collected in the upper 100 m layer in 1997 and 1998. Feeding incidence was higher during the day than at night (53.1-92.3% versus 0-5.6%), and daytime feeding incidence increased gradually with larval growth. Larvae fed mainly on copepods of various developmental stages. Larvae of S. californiensis showed an ontogenetic change in their diet: larvae =8 mm BL consumed mainly calanoid copepodites such as Pseudocalanus and Paracalanus spp. In the largest size-class (16-22.2 mm BL), the furcilia stage of euphausiids was also an important prey item. There was an increase in the average prey size with growth in larvae =12 mm BL. The trophic niche breadth also increased with larval growth, which would ensure a wide range of available food resources for the larger size-class larvae.