MEPS 160:121-134 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps160121

Trophic ecology of the European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus in the Catalan Sea (northwest Mediterranean)

Sergi Tudela*, Isabel Palomera

Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Plaça del Mar s/n, E-08039 Barcelona, Spain

Analysis of adult anchovy samples collected in the Catalan Sea during the spawning periods in 1994 and 1995 showed that feeding activity by this engraulid was mainly diurnal, taking place particularly after noon. Copepods and other small prey were primary dietary items, the former presumably being concentrated at the level of the deep chlorophyll maximum during daytime. At night only sporadic consumption of large prey items, mostly decapod larvae and mysids, was recorded. The feeding pattern described results in spatio-temporal segregation of feeding and spawning activity and may account for the absence of cannibalism on anchovy eggs. An assessment of the impact of consumption by the anchovy population in the Catalan Sea on zooplankton production underscored the major role played by this species in channelling energy of the pelagic food webs to higher trophic levels.

Engraulis encrasicolus · Trophic ecology · Pelagic ecosystem · Energy flows · NW Mediterranean

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