MEPS 179:145-153 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps179145

Selective feeding behavior of larval naked gobies Gobiosoma bosc and blennies Chasmodes bosquianus and Hypsoblennius hentzi: preferences for bivalve veligers

Juliana M. Harding*

Department of Fisheries Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062-1346, USA

ABSTRACT: Naked gobies Gobiosoma bosc, striped blennies Chasmodes bosquianus, and feather blennies Hypsoblennius hentzi provide important intermediate links within the trophic structure of estuarine oyster reef communities. Predator-prey interactions between planktonic larvae of these fishes and larval eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica may influence recruitment success within oyster reef communities. These 3 species of oyster reef fish larvae were cultured from wild nests and used in multifactorial laboratory feeding experiments with larval oysters or hard clams Mercenaria mercenaria as well as wild plankton as prey items to determine the effects of predator age, predator concentration, and prey type on feeding selectivity of these fishes. Predator age significantly influenced feeding behavior of naked gobies and feather blennies. Predator concentration did not significantly effect feeding behavior for any of the 3 fish species. Prey type significantly affected feeding behavior of feather blennies and naked gobies. Naked gobies consumed bivalve veligers preferentially at all veliger concentrations. Feather blennies consumed veligers preferentially at concentrations as low as 12% of the available prey field. Striped blennies were less specialized in their feeding patterns but still consumed bivalve veligers preferentially at prey field concentrations as low as 11% veligers.


KEY WORDS: Larval fishes · Oyster reefs · Naked goby · Striped blenny · Feather blenny · Crassostrea virginica · Predator-prey interactions · Selectivity · Chesson's alpha


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