MEPS 386:181-195 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08081

Feeding ecology and ontogenetic dietary shift of yellowstripe goatfish Mulloidichthys flavolineatus (Mullidae) at Reunion Island, SW Indian Ocean

Joanna Kolasinski1,*, Patrick Frouin1, Amélie Sallon1, Karyne Rogers2, Henrich J. Bruggemann1, Michel Potier3

1Laboratoire d’Ecologie Marine, Université de La Réunion, 15 avenue René Cassin, BP 7151,
97715 Saint-Denis messag Cedex 9, La Réunion, France
2National Isotope Centre, GNS Science, 30 Gracefield Road, PO Box 31 312, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
3Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Centre de La Réunion, UR 109 Thetis, BP 172, 97492 Sainte Clotilde, La Réunion, France

ABSTRACT: We analyzed stomach contents and muscle isotopic composition (δ13C, δ15N) of yellowstripe goatfish Mulloidichthys flavolineatus from a coral reef to investigate size-related dietary changes and resource or habitat partitioning. Juveniles (<12 cm total length [TL]), young adults (12 ≤ TL < 17 cm) and adults (≥17 cm TL) showed a high diet overlap, especially between juveniles and young adults. According to stomach contents analysis, M. flavolineatus widens its prey spectrum with increasing size from a common prey pool that includes polychaetes, tanaids and harpacticoid copepods. We observed a significant increase in δ13C values (from –17.1 ± 0.5‰ for juveniles to –10.7 ± 0.8‰ for adults), which were correlated to fish size. Adults (δ15N mean of 11.1 ± 1.8‰) were one trophic level above juveniles and young adults (7.7 ± 0.5 and 7.4 ± 0.5‰, respectively). These patterns of isotopic changes confirmed ontogenetic dietary shifts. However, trophodynamics can be influenced by physiological factors such as growth and sexual maturity. M. flavolineatus shift from a pelagic to a macrobenthic diet, which is equilibrated at the adult stage. Results from combined stomach contents (prey volume) and stable isotope analyses suggested a dominant contribution of polychaetes (macrofauna), possibly through selective feeding. Conversely, on the basis of prey volume and stable isotope data, meiofauna did not feature significantly in the diet despite their high abundance in stomachs. Two adult groups were distinguished based on their δ15N values (11.9 ± 0.8 and 7.8 ± 0.6‰), indicating possible stage-specific partitioning in habitat use inside the reef.

KEY WORDS: Yellowstripe goatfish · Ontogenetic diet shift · Stomach contents · Stable isotopes · Mixing model · Southwestern Indian Ocean

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Cite this article as: Kolasinski J, Frouin P, Sallon A, Rogers K, Bruggemann HJ, Potier M (2009) Feeding ecology and ontogenetic dietary shift of yellowstripe goatfish Mulloidichthys flavolineatus (Mullidae) at Reunion Island, SW Indian Ocean. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 386:181-195

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