Feeding habits of the speckled guitarfish Rhinobatos glaucostigma
Published online on 06. July 2015
Feeding habits of the speckled guitarfish Rhinobatos glaucostigma (Elasmobranchii: Rhinobatidae)
R. E. Lara-Mendoza, J. F. Márquez-Farías, J. C. Román-Reyes
The stomachs of 464 speckled guitarfish Rhinobatos glaucostigma were sampled from the south-eastern Gulf of California (GC) to determine diet composition. Numerical indices and prey-specific index of relative importance (%IPSIR) were used to determine the feeding strategy of the species. An analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) was used to determine differences in diet with respect to sex, season (dry or rainy) and maturity stages (immature or mature). The diversity and niche breadth (by sex, season and maturity) and a general trophic level were determined. The overall diet was dominated by shrimps (%IPSIR = 43·47), amphipods (%IPSIR = 18·89) and crabs (%IPSIR = 18·07). ANOSIM demonstrated differences in the diet by maturity and season, but not by sex. Rainy and dry season diets were dominated by shrimps and amphipods, respectively. Immature specimens fed mainly on amphipods, whereas mature fish preferred shrimps and crabs. Rhinobatos glaucostigma showed a narrow niche breadth with an intermediary trophic level (TL = 3·72) and can be considered as a secondary consumer in the soft-bottom demersal community of the south-east GC. Understanding the feeding habits and trophic level of R. glaucostigma is vital to help identify the segments of the population vulnerable to overfishing by artisanal and industrial fisheries, and to aid in conservation and management of this elasmobranch.
Journal of Fish Biology. Early View Version, doi: 10.1111/jfb.12720