, Volume 533, Issue 1–3, pp 175–186 | Cite as

A preliminary examination of the diet and feeding of sea sweep Scorpis aequipinnis (Pisces: Scorpididae) from coastal waters of south-western Victoria, Australia

  • Dane M. Newman
  • Paul L. Jones
  • Laurie Jon Laurenson


The diet and feeding of sea sweep (Scorpis aequipinnis) was investigated from 230 specimens collected from the south-western Victorian coastline between January and July, 2002. Stomach content analysis indicated that S. aequipinnis are browsing omnivores (55.6% algae, 25.4% animal, by dry weight), with rhodophytes found to be the most important component of their diet (93.5% frequency of occurrence; 42.6% dry weight; 45.5% prey-specific abundance). However, the relative proportions of the major dietary components differed significantly between size classes. The dietary composition of small individuals ( < 150 mm total length) was significantly different to larger individuals, primarily due to a higher degree of carnivory exhibited by the smaller fish. S. aequipinnis were found to be highly flexible feeders exploiting both benthic and pelagic food resources, characterised by irregular periods of selective carnivorous feeding.


Scorpididae omnivore diet feeding plasticity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amundsen, P.A., Gabler, M. H., Staldvik, J. F. 1996A new approach to graphical analysis of feeding strategy from stomach contents data–modification of the Costello(1990) methodJournal of Fish Biology48607614Google Scholar
  2. Ayling, T., Cox, C. J. 1982Guide to the Sea Fishes of New ZealandCollinsAucklandGoogle Scholar
  3. Benavides, A. G., Cancino, J. M., Ojeda, F. P. 1994Ontogenetic change in the diet of Aplodactylus punctatus (Pisces: Aplodactylidae): an ecophysiological explanationMarine Biology11815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bulman, C., Althaus, F., He, X., Bax, N. J., Williams, A. 2001Diets and trophic guilds of demersal fishes of the south-eastern Australian shelfMarine and Freshwater Research52537548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clarke, K. R., Warwick, R. M. 1994Change in Marine Communities: An Approach to Statistical Analysis and InterpretationPlymouth Marine LaboratoryPlymouthGoogle Scholar
  6. Clements, K. D., Choat, J. H. 1997Comparison of herbivory in the closely-related marine fish genera Girella and KyphosusMarine Biology127579586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coleman, N. 1980Australian Sea Fishes–South of 30 °SDoubledayLane CoveGoogle Scholar
  8. Costello, M. J. 1990Predator feeding strategy and prey importance: a new graphical analysisJournal of Fish Biology36261263Google Scholar
  9. Dill, L. M. 1983Adaptive flexibility in the foraging behaviour of fishesCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences40398408Google Scholar
  10. Edgar, G. J., Last, P. R., Wells, M. W. 1982Coastal fishes of Tasmania and Bass StraitCat and Fiddle PressHobartGoogle Scholar
  11. Follett, W. I., Gotshall, D., Smith, J. G. 1960Northerly occurrences of the scorpid fish Medialuna californiensis (Steindachner), with meristic data, life history notes, and discussion of the fisheriesCalifornia Fish and Game64165175Google Scholar
  12. Fris, M. B., Horn, M. H. 1993Effects of diets of different protein content on food consumption, gut retention, protein conversion, and growth of Cebidichthys violaceus (Girard), an herbivorous fish of temperate zone marine watersJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology166185202Google Scholar
  13. Glasby, T. M., Kingsford, M. J. 1994Atypichthys strigatus (Pisces: Scorpididae): An opportunistic planktivore that responds to benthic disturbances and cleans other fishesAustralian Journal of Ecology19385394Google Scholar
  14. Gomon, M. F., Glover, J. C. M., Kuiter, R. H. 1994The Fishes of Australia’s South CoastState PrintAdelaideGoogle Scholar
  15. Grant, E. M. 1987Grant’s Fishes of AustraliaE. M. Grant Pty. Ltd.Scarborough, QueenslandGoogle Scholar
  16. Hobson, E. S., Chess, J. R. 2001Influence of trophic relations on form and behaviour among fishes and benthic invertebrates in some California marine communitiesEnvironmental Biology of Fishes60411457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Horn, M. H. 1989Biology of marine herbivorous fishesOceanography and Marine Biology Annual Review27167272Google Scholar
  18. Jones, G. P. 1988Ecology of rocky reef fish of north-eastern New Zealand: a reviewNew Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research22445462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Joubert, C. S. W., Hanekom, P. B. 1980A study of feeding in some inshore reef fish of the Natal coast, South AfricaSouth African Journal of Zoology15262274Google Scholar
  20. Last, P. R., Scott, E. O. G., Talbot, F. H. 1983Fishes of TasmaniaTasmanian Fisheries Development AuthorityHobartGoogle Scholar
  21. Main, K. L. 1985The influence of prey identity and size on selection of prey by two marine fishesJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology88145152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Montgomery, W. L., Gerking, S. D. 1980Marine macroalgae as foods for fishes: an evaluation of potential food qualityEnvironmental Biology of Fishes5143153Google Scholar
  23. Opuszynski, K., Shireman, J. V. 1995Herbivorous Fishes: Culture and Use for Weed ManagementCRC PressBoca Raton, FLGoogle Scholar
  24. Ring, J., Eccleston, D. 1986Food and feeding of rocky reef fish of north-eastern New ZealandNew Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research20329330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Russell, B. C. 1983The food and feeding habits of rocky reef␣fish of north-eastern New ZealandNew Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research17121145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Smith, P. J., Wood, B. A., Benson, P. G. 1979Electrophoretic and meristic separation of blue maomao and sweepNew Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research13549551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. White, T. C. R. 1985When is a herbivore not a herbivoreOecologia (Berlin)67596597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wootton, R. J. 1990Ecology of Teleost FishesChapman and HallLondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dane M. Newman
    • 1
  • Paul L. Jones
    • 1
  • Laurie Jon Laurenson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Ecology and EnvironmentDeakin UniversityWarrnamboolAustralia

Personalised recommendations