Contrasting feeding patterns among species of fish larvae from the tropical Andaman Sea

P. Østergaard, Peter Munk, V. Janekarn

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Feeding habits of tropical fish larvae were analysed in a comparative study of four species (Scorpaenodes sp., Carangoides sp., Acanthocepola sp. and Cynoglossus sp.) from the Andaman Sea. We investigated morphological characteristics and their potential influence on larval feeding, and looked for common patterns in larval prey preference. Gut contents of a total of 300 larvae were examined and compared with local zooplankton composition. The feeding habits of the investigated larvae shared a number of characteristics. During ontogeny both the preferred prey size and the number of prey in the gut increased, and across all larval size classes the relative prey size spectrum stayed constant, of approximately the same magnitude for all four species. On the other hand, larval feeding also differed in a number of aspects, especially differences in the taxonomic composition of preferred prey were apparent. Scorpaenodes sp. preferred abundant and large prey taxa, Acanthocepola sp. and Carangoides sp. preferred large, but less common prey taxa, while Cynoglossus sp., which had the relatively smallest mouth size, preferred smaller sized prey groups. Hence, the findings indicate that from an offset of common characteristics, especially related to prey size preference, larvae have their individual feeding patterns related to specific morphology and patterns of distribution.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)595-606
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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