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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 152:273-283 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps152273

Partitioning of space and food resources by three fish of the genus Diplodus (Sparidae) in a Mediterranean rocky infralittoral ecosystem

Sala E, Ballesteros E

White sea bream Diplodus sargus, two-banded sea bream D. vulgaris and sharpsnout sea bream D. puntazzo coexist in Mediterranean infralittoral rocky habitats. Diets of the 3 species were quantitatively analysed, and the relative abundance of algae found in stomach contents was compared with the abundance of algae in the different habitats. These results were compared with observational studies on distribution and feeding use of the habitats. The results suggest that there was marked resource partitioning between the 3 species of Diplodus in the rocky infralittoral. D. sargus mainly exploited the surge zone, while D. puntazzo and D. vulgaris preferentially exploited deeper waters. Diet analysis suggested a strong feeding niche overlap between D. sargus and D. vulgaris, although they fed in different habitats, except small individuals (total length <13 cm) of both species, which shared the same resources. D. vulgaris and D. puntazzo showed strong habitat overlap, although they exploited different food resources. D. sargus and D. puntazzo showed low spatial and feeding-niche overlap. Habitat partitioning appeared to be as important as food partitioning in structuring Diplodus assemblages.

Resource partitioning · Littoral fish · Infralittoral habitats · Diplodus · Mediterranean

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