MEPS 207:129-140 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/meps207129

Feeding habits of three dominant myctophid fishes, Diaphus theta, Stenobrachius leucopsarus and S. nannochir, in the subarctic and transitional waters of the western North Pacific

Masatoshi Moku1,*, Kouichi Kawaguchi1, Hikaru Watanabe1, Akinori Ohno2

1Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan
2Japan Marine Fishery Resources Research Center, Godo Kaikan Building, 3-27 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0094, Japan

ABSTRACT: The feeding habits of 3 dominant myctophid fishes, Diaphus theta (vertical migrant), Stenobrachius leucopsarus (semi-migrant), and S. nannochir (non-migrant), were studied in relation to their diel vertical migration patterns using time-series sampling during the summers of 1994 to 1996 in the subarctic and transitional waters of the western North Pacific. D. theta and S. leucopsarus fed mainly on euphausiids (mainly Euphausia pacifica), copepods (mainly Metridia pacifica and the Neocalanus plumchrus/flemingeri group), and amphipods (mainly the Themisto japonica/ pacifica group). The prey of S. nannochir was mainly copepods, but the species were different from those preyed on by D. theta and S. leucopsarus. D. theta fed on euphausiids, with 1 feeding peak during the daytime and another at night, but fed on amphipods only at night and on copepods throughout the entire diel cycle. The vertical migratory component of S. leucopsarus showed a significant diel feeding periodicity, feeding on euphausiids, copepods, and amphipods from dusk to midnight, while the non-migratory component did not feed actively at nighttime, and had a high frequency of empty stomachs. The non-migratory S. nannochir showed no diel feeding periodicity. The average ratio of stomach content weight/body weight was 2.2% during the day and 2.0% at night in D. theta, 0.8% during the daytime and 1.1% at night in the migratory S. leucopsarus, 0.6% at night in the non-migratory S. leucopsarus, and 0.07 to 0.13% (avg. 0.11%) in S. nannochir.

KEY WORDS: Myctophid fish · Diet composition · Diel feeding periodicity · Daily ration · Diel vertical migration

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