Prey or predator – expanding the food web role of sandeel (Ammodytes marinus)

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Abstract

We report an unexpected observation of lesser sandeel Ammodytes marinus foraging on juveniles and late larval stages of the same species. This recording sheds new light on the cannibalistic and piscivorous capacity of forage fish and raises a number of questions about the role of forage fish in marine food webs. In 2012 and 2013 the stomachs of 748 sandeels from 36 different commercial sandeel hauls in the central North Sea were opened. 9% of these stomachs contained late stage sandeel larvae. In order to better understand the cannibalistic nature of sandeels, we made a detailed analysis of another 450 sandeels from a single haul with a high frequency of apparent cannibals. One-third of the stomachs contained a minimum of one young sandeel (mean length 2.7 cm; max. length 4.9 cm), 10 percent contained 5 or more, and one stomach contained 18. Analyses of sample DNA confirmed that predator and prey were conspecifics. Larger specimens were more likely to be cannibals. However, among cannibals the specific sandeel larvae consumption was independent of cannibal size. We argue that this piscivorous cannibalistic behaviour may not only be a key factor in explaining recruitment fluctuations in North Sea sandeel stocks, but it may also add a new element to the complexity of energy flow in marine food chains
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume516
Pages (from-to)267-273
ISSN0171-8630
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this

@article{1b012df9ff8144dc9452fcd8a6dac332,
title = "Prey or predator – expanding the food web role of sandeel (Ammodytes marinus)",
abstract = "We report an unexpected observation of lesser sandeel Ammodytes marinus foraging on juveniles and late larval stages of the same species. This recording sheds new light on the cannibalistic and piscivorous capacity of forage fish and raises a number of questions about the role of forage fish in marine food webs. In 2012 and 2013 the stomachs of 748 sandeels from 36 different commercial sandeel hauls in the central North Sea were opened. 9{\%} of these stomachs contained late stage sandeel larvae. In order to better understand the cannibalistic nature of sandeels, we made a detailed analysis of another 450 sandeels from a single haul with a high frequency of apparent cannibals. One-third of the stomachs contained a minimum of one young sandeel (mean length 2.7 cm; max. length 4.9 cm), 10 percent contained 5 or more, and one stomach contained 18. Analyses of sample DNA confirmed that predator and prey were conspecifics. Larger specimens were more likely to be cannibals. However, among cannibals the specific sandeel larvae consumption was independent of cannibal size. We argue that this piscivorous cannibalistic behaviour may not only be a key factor in explaining recruitment fluctuations in North Sea sandeel stocks, but it may also add a new element to the complexity of energy flow in marine food chains",
author = "Eigaard, {Ole Ritzau} and Deurs, {Mikael van} and Jane Behrens and Dorte Bekkevold and Keith Brander and Marie Plambech and {Schreiber Plet-Hansen}, Kristian and Henrik Mosegaard",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.3354/meps11064",
language = "English",
volume = "516",
pages = "267--273",
journal = "Marine Ecology - Progress Series",
issn = "0171-8630",
publisher = "Inter Research",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Prey or predator – expanding the food web role of sandeel (Ammodytes marinus)

AU - Eigaard, Ole Ritzau

AU - Deurs, Mikael van

AU - Behrens, Jane

AU - Bekkevold, Dorte

AU - Brander, Keith

AU - Plambech, Marie

AU - Schreiber Plet-Hansen, Kristian

AU - Mosegaard, Henrik

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - We report an unexpected observation of lesser sandeel Ammodytes marinus foraging on juveniles and late larval stages of the same species. This recording sheds new light on the cannibalistic and piscivorous capacity of forage fish and raises a number of questions about the role of forage fish in marine food webs. In 2012 and 2013 the stomachs of 748 sandeels from 36 different commercial sandeel hauls in the central North Sea were opened. 9% of these stomachs contained late stage sandeel larvae. In order to better understand the cannibalistic nature of sandeels, we made a detailed analysis of another 450 sandeels from a single haul with a high frequency of apparent cannibals. One-third of the stomachs contained a minimum of one young sandeel (mean length 2.7 cm; max. length 4.9 cm), 10 percent contained 5 or more, and one stomach contained 18. Analyses of sample DNA confirmed that predator and prey were conspecifics. Larger specimens were more likely to be cannibals. However, among cannibals the specific sandeel larvae consumption was independent of cannibal size. We argue that this piscivorous cannibalistic behaviour may not only be a key factor in explaining recruitment fluctuations in North Sea sandeel stocks, but it may also add a new element to the complexity of energy flow in marine food chains

AB - We report an unexpected observation of lesser sandeel Ammodytes marinus foraging on juveniles and late larval stages of the same species. This recording sheds new light on the cannibalistic and piscivorous capacity of forage fish and raises a number of questions about the role of forage fish in marine food webs. In 2012 and 2013 the stomachs of 748 sandeels from 36 different commercial sandeel hauls in the central North Sea were opened. 9% of these stomachs contained late stage sandeel larvae. In order to better understand the cannibalistic nature of sandeels, we made a detailed analysis of another 450 sandeels from a single haul with a high frequency of apparent cannibals. One-third of the stomachs contained a minimum of one young sandeel (mean length 2.7 cm; max. length 4.9 cm), 10 percent contained 5 or more, and one stomach contained 18. Analyses of sample DNA confirmed that predator and prey were conspecifics. Larger specimens were more likely to be cannibals. However, among cannibals the specific sandeel larvae consumption was independent of cannibal size. We argue that this piscivorous cannibalistic behaviour may not only be a key factor in explaining recruitment fluctuations in North Sea sandeel stocks, but it may also add a new element to the complexity of energy flow in marine food chains

U2 - 10.3354/meps11064

DO - 10.3354/meps11064

M3 - Journal article

VL - 516

SP - 267

EP - 273

JO - Marine Ecology - Progress Series

JF - Marine Ecology - Progress Series

SN - 0171-8630

ER -