Marine Biology

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 313–322 | Cite as

Vertical distribution and feeding patterns of midwater fish in the central equatorial Atlantic

I. Myctophidae
  • J. Kinzer
  • K. Schulz


Fishes and zooplankton were obtained (March–April 1979 and partly in August 1974) from 45 hauls taken during the day and at night in the central equatorial Atlantic between Latitude 3°N and 2°S from the surface to 1250-m depth, using the RMT 1+8, a combined opening-closing plankton and micronekton trawl. The vertical distribution of 30 myctophid species is described. All species migrate in a diel pattern, Ceratoscopelus warmingii and Lampanyctus photonotus down to at least 1250 m. During daytime most species aggregated at 400-to 700-m depth, therefore only partly occupying the depth of the Deep Scattering Layer (400 to 500 m at 15 kHz). The feeding patterns of seven of the most abundant species were compared, with a total of 1 905 stomach contents being analysed. All seven species are regarded as opportunistic predators, which feed predominantly during the night on calanoid copepods. A total of 66 species of calanoid copepods were identified among the prey items, with smaller species definitely being in the minority. Stomachs of C. warmingii (700 to 1 250 m depth) and Lepidophanes guentheri (500 to 900 m depth) from daytime samples contained copepod species restricted to the upper 150 m of the water column, including Undinula vulgaris, Nannocalanus minor, and Euchaeta marina, thereby confirming an extended vertical migration of predators. Differences in diet and preferences between species in their total food spectrum are described.


Vertical Distribution Abundant Species Stomach Content Prey Item Vertical Migration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Kinzer
    • 1
  • K. Schulz
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für MeereskundeUniversität KielKiel 1Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)
  2. 2.Biologische Anstalt HelgolandHamburg 52Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)

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