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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 407:209-225 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08580

Feeding habits and niche separation among the deep-sea chimaeroid fishes Harriotta raleighana, Hydrolagus bemisi and Hydrolagus novaezealandiae

Matthew R. Dunn*, Lynda Griggs, Jeff Forman, Peter Horn

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., 301 Evans Bay Parade, Greta Point, Wellington, New Zealand

ABSTRACT: The diets of Harriotta raleighana, Hydrolagus bemisi and Hydrolagus novaezealandiae were determined from examination of digestive tract contents from specimens sampled at depths of 219 to 876 m on the submarine ridge, Chatham Rise, New Zealand. All 3 species fed predominantly on benthic epifauna and infauna. Similarity percentages indicated the diet of H. raleighana was characterised by polychaetes and molluscs, H. bemisi by crabs and polychaetes, and H. novaezealandiae by crabs and sea urchins. Multivariate analyses using distance-based linear models found the most important predictors of diet variability were a categorical predictor for the subtropical front (STF) and bottom temperature. Cluster analysis of species subgroups indicated there was a greater similarity in diet between H. raleighana and H. bemisi, and between H. bemisi and H. novaezealandiae, in similar locations, than between subgroups of H. bemisi in different locations. Generalised additive models indicated that depth was the most important spatial predictor of research trawl survey catch rates, and depth separation was most pronounced between H. raleighana and H. novaezealandiae. Other significant predictors of diet variability included longitude, and fish length or weight. In all 3 species the diet of smaller fish included more polychaetes, small crustaceans and gastropods, and the diet of larger fish contained more decapod crustaceans. The primary factor determining niche separation among the 3 species appears to be depth and distribution rather than dietary specialisation.


KEY WORDS: Diet · Distribution · Deep-sea fish · Ghost shark · Spookfish · New Zealand


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Cite this article as: Dunn MR, Griggs L, Forman J, Horn P (2010) Feeding habits and niche separation among the deep-sea chimaeroid fishes Harriotta raleighana, Hydrolagus bemisi and Hydrolagus novaezealandiae. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 407:209-225. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08580

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