MEPS 236:263-272 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps236263

Feeding habits of juvenile surface-migratory myctophid fishes (family Myctophidae) in the Kuroshio region of the western North Pacific

Hikaru Watanabe1,*, Kouichi Kawaguchi2, Amane Hayashi2

1National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries (Japan Science and Technology Corporation), 5-7-1 Orido Shimizu-shi, Shizuoka 424-8633, Japan
2Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan

ABSTRACT: We examined the diets and nighttime feeding chronologies of the most abundant juvenile surface-migratory myctophid fishes in the Kuroshio waters of the western North Pacific: Myctophum asperum, M. nitidulum, Symbolophorus evermanni and Centrobranchus brevirostris. Samples were collected from water 0 to 1 m deep at night from January to March during 10 yr between 1961 and 1992. The 4 species exhibited resource partitioning by having different main prey items at night in the top 1 m layer. M. asperum fed mainly on appendicularians, M. nitidulum on copepods and amphipods, S. evermanni on euphausiids and C. brevirostris on pteropods. They also had species-specific peak feeding hours, demonstrated by the different hours during which each species had the greatest wet weight of stomach contents (percentage of body weight): 24:00 to 01:00 h (5.1%) and 02:00 to 03:00 h (4.0%) for M. asperum; 03:00 to 04:00 h (7.3%) for M. nitidulum; 04:00 to 05:00 h (3.9%) for S. evermanni; and 20:00 to 21:00 h, 22:00 to 23:00 h and 04:00 to 05:00 h (4.6, 5.3 and 3.8%, respectively) for C. brevirostris. These results suggest that myctophids that migrate to the surface reduce trophic competition by specializing in different food organisms. We observed 2 and 3 feeding peaks for species that feed on gelatinous plankton (M. asperum and C. brevirostris, respectively), compared with 1 peak for crustacean feeders (S. evermanni and M. nitidulum). We also estimated the impact on zooplankton of nocturnal feeding by these 4 species.

KEY WORDS: Myctophid fish · Diel vertical migration · Surface migrant · Feeding habit · Feeding chronology · Resource partitioning · Feeding impact · Kuroshio region

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