Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 59–72 | Cite as

Different food preferences in four sympatric deep-sea Macrourid fishes

  • Darren W. StevensEmail author
  • Matthew R. Dunn
Original Paper


Feeding habits of the four most abundant deep-sea demersal trawl-caught macrourids on Chatham Rise, New Zealand, were examined from stomach contents. Two species were predominantly benthic foragers: Coelorinchus bollonsi on infaunal and epifaunal polychaetes, and C. aspercephalus on epifaunal crustaceans; and two species were predominantly mesopelagic foragers; C. oliverianus on calanoid copepods, and Lepidorhynchus denticulatus on mesopelagic crustaceans. The most important predictors of diet variability were identified using distance-based linear models and included areal predictors in all four species, fish size in C. aspercephalus, C. bollonsi and L. denticulatus, and sample year in C. bollonsi. Cluster analyses showed that the diets of C. aspercephalus and C. bollonsi were most distinct. There was a greater interspecific similarity in diet in the spatial and fish size subgroups of C. oliverianus and L. denticulatus, than at the species level. Failing to account for areal, temporal, and ontogenetic variability in diets may bias evaluations of resource competition.


Polychaete Prey Item Calanoid Copepod Bottom Temperature Gammarid Amphipod 
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.



Thanks to Amelia Connell, Jeff Forman, Shane Ahyong, Niel Bruce, Graham Fenwick, Dennis Gordon, Niamh Kilgallen, Anne-Nina Loerz, Peter Notman, Geoff Read, Kareen Schnabel, Rob Stewart, and Erika Mackay (all NIWA), Bruce Marshall and Rick Webber (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa), Yves Cherel (Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, France), and Oliver Coleman (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin) for assistance in prey identification. Peter McMillan provided advice on macrourid biology and distribution, and Jeff Drazen (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California) and 2 anonymous reviewers provided constructive comments on the draft manuscript. This work was part-funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries projects ZBD2004-02 and ENV2007-06, the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology project C01X0501 (Coasts and Oceans OBI, IO2), and NIWA capability fund CF103183. Thanks to the staff on the RV Tangaroa surveys for collection of the samples.

Supplementary material

227_2010_1542_MOESM1_ESM.doc (450 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 450 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research LtdWellingtonNew Zealand

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