Investigations into the diet and feeding ecology of the bearded goby Sufflogobius bibarbatus off Namibia

  • RB Cedras
  • A-GV Salvanes
  • MJ Gibbons

Abstract

The bearded goby Sufflogobius bibarbatus has come to replace sardine Sardinops sagax in the diets of many top predators within the marine environment off Namibia, and it is playing a key role within the region’s foodweb. Previously published information on the diet of the bearded goby has been derived from small samples and has been contradictory. We investigated  the gut contents of over 3 500 specimens of S. bibarbatus from two separate studies. The results indicate that the species has a fairly generalised diet, feeding mostly on benthic and pelagic animals (phytoplankton was rare), in a way that reflects ontogeny, habitat and likely prey availability. Smaller, more pelagic individuals included a substantial number of pelagic organisms in their  diet and the proportion of benthic organisms increased with the size of the goby. Given the importance of this species in recycling benthic carbon through the foodweb of the northern Benguela ecosystem, there is a need to describe and quantify the benthic food environment.

Keywords: Benguela, benthic-pelagic coupling, ecosystem approach to fisheries, infauna, polychaetes, zooplankton

African Journal of Marine Science 2011, 33(2): 313–320

Author Biographies

RB Cedras
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville 7535, South Africa
A-GV Salvanes
Department of Biology, University of Bergen, PO Box 7803, 5020 Bergen, Norway
MJ Gibbons
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville 7535, South Africa
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X