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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 555:167-184 (2016)  -  DOI:

Diet is correlated with otolith shape in marine fish

T. Mille1,*, K. Mahé1, M. Cachera2, M. C. Villanueva3, H. de Pontual3, B. Ernande1

1Ifremer, Centre Manche Mer du Nord, Laboratoire ressources halieutiques, BP 699, 62321 Boulogne-sur-mer, France
2Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin, UMR 6539, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, 29280 Plouzané, France
3IFREMER, Centre de Bretagne, Unité Sciences et Technologies Halieutiques, Z.I. Pointe du Diable, CS10070, 29280 Plouzané, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that the amount of food influences fish otolith structure, opacity and shape and that diet composition has an effect on otolith chemical composition. This study investigated the potential correlation between diet and otolith shape in 5 wild marine fish species by addressing 4 complementary questions. First, is there a global relationship between diet and otolith shape? Second, which prey categories are involved in this relationship? Third, what are the respective contributions of food quantity and relative composition to diet-otolith shape co-variation? Fourth, is diet energetic composition related to otolith shape? For each species, we investigated how otolith shape varies with diet. These questions were tackled by describing diet in the analysis in 4 different ways, while also including individual-state variables to remove potential confounding effects. First, besides the strong effect of individual-state, a global relationship between diet and otolith shape was detected for 4 out of 5 fish species. Second, both main and secondary prey categories were related to variability in otolith shape, and otolith outline reconstructions revealed that both otolith global shape and its finer details co-varied with these prey categories. Third, the contribution of relative diet composition to diet-otolith shape co-variation was much higher than that of ingested food quantity. Fourth, the energetic composition of diet was related to otolith shape of only 1 species. These results suggest that diet in marine fish species may influence the quantity and composition of saccular endolymph proteins which play an important role in otolith biomineralization and their resulting 3D structure.

KEY WORDS: Fourier analysis · English Channel · Interspecific · Morphometric analysis · Otolith growth · Saccular otolith · Stomach contents

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Cite this article as: Mille T, Mahé K, Cachera M, Villanueva MC, de Pontual H, Ernande B (2016) Diet is correlated with otolith shape in marine fish. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 555:167-184.

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