Short- and long-term importance of small sharks in the diet of the rare deep-sea shark Dalatias lichaPublished online on 13. May 2014
Short- and long-term importance of small sharks in the diet of the rare deep-sea shark Dalatias licha
Joan Navarro, Lourdes López, Marta Coll, Claudio Barría, Raquel Sáez-Liante
Knowing the trophic ecology of marine predators is essential to develop an understanding of their ecological role in ecosystems. Research conducted on deep-sea and threatened shark species is limited. Here, by combining analyses of individual stomach contents and stable isotope values, we examined the trophic ecology (dietary composition and trophic position) of the kitefin shark Dalatias licha, a deep-sea shark considered as near threatened globally and as data deficient in the Mediterranean Sea. Results revealed the importance of small sharks in the diet of the kitefin shark at short- and long-term scales, although fin-fish, crustaceans and cephalopods were also found. Predation on sharks reveals the high trophic position of the kitefin shark within the food web of the western Mediterranean Sea. Stable isotope values from liver and muscle tissues confirmed our results from stomach content analysis and the high trophic position.
Marine Biology, DOI 10.1007/s00227-014-2454-2