Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 9, pp 1891–1902 | Cite as

Feeding biology of Ophiura sarsii Lütken, 1855 on Banquereau bank and the effects of fishing

  • Jennifer L. Harris
  • Kevin MacIsaac
  • Kent D. Gilkinson
  • Ellen L. KenchingtonEmail author
Original Paper


Ophiura sarsii was collected in May/June from Banquereau Bank off Nova Scotia, Canada as part of the benthic fauna analyzed in a 2 year clam dredging-impact experiment. In total, 529 O. sarsii specimens were analyzed; 174 (33%) had stomach contents while the rest were empty. Ophiura sarsii is a trophic generalist feeding on at least 31 taxa (52% identified to species) drawn from four phyla: Arthropoda (81.8%), Annelida (13.2%), Mollusca (3%), and Cnidaria (1.5%). However, the diet was largely restricted to two amphipod families (Ampeliscidae and Lysianassidae), accounting for 54–70% of stomach contents at any one sampling period. This diet provides indirect evidence for carnivory. Limited spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the proportion of animals feeding showed no consistent pattern. Where diet composition differed (ANOSIM) it was attributed to the proportion of lysianassid and ampeliscid amphipods consumed. Dredging introduced new dietary items, although diet composition was not significantly altered.


Stomach Content Prey Item Diet Composition Grab Sample Species Accumulation Curve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank T. J. Kenchington, D. C. Gordon Jr, and M. Wong for providing insightful comments on this manuscript. S. Stancyk and an anonymous reviewer offered further suggestions for improvement. D. C. Gordon Jr led the original experimental study on Banquereau Bank from which were able to draw our specimens, and without which the feeding biology of O. sarsii would remain unknown.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Harris
    • 1
  • Kevin MacIsaac
    • 2
  • Kent D. Gilkinson
    • 3
  • Ellen L. Kenchington
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries and OceansBedford Institute of OceanographyDartmouthCanada
  3. 3.Department of Fisheries and OceansNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries CentreSt. John’sCanada

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