Stable isotope analysis of two species of anguilliform leptocephali (Anguilla japonica and Ariosoma major) relative to their feeding depth in the North Equatorial Current region
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Anguilla japonica leptocephali are transported from their offshore spawning area to their recruitment areas in East Asia, but their depth distributions, food sources and feeding are still poorly known. This study analyzed carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of leptocephali of A. japonica, Ariosoma major and Ariosoma spp., and of particulate organic matter (POM), their likely food source, at five different depths in 2004–2009. We used mixing models to show that A. japonica appeared to be feeding at depths between 5 and 50 m, but sometimes deeper. A. major appeared to have a tendency of mostly feeding at depths of 50 m or shallower. Although the A. japonica and Ariosoma spp. collected in the same area during the leptocephalus stage appeared to have different feeding ecologies possibly related to different types of POM, their different depth distributions, sizes and transport histories may also help explain these differences.
KeywordsParticulate Organic Matter Stable Isotope Ratio Subtropical Gyre North Equatorial Current Gelatinous Zooplankton
We thank the captain, crew and technicians of the R/V Hakuho Maru for their help during these six cruises. We also thank all the other scientific members of these cruises for their assistance in the collection and sorting of the plankton to obtain the leptocephali. In particular, the authors are grateful to K. Tsukamoto, T. Otake, N. Mochioka, J. Aoyama and M. Kuroki for their advice.
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